Welcome to the Anjali House Blog!
Here you will read regular updates from inside Anjali. Hear from our students, participants in our Young Adult Program, volunteers, staff, and more! Stay up to date with all the latest happenings by following us on Facebook @AnjaliHouse and on Twitter and Instagram @Anjali_House. Sign up for our quarterly Newsletter for an in-depth look at our activities, fundraising goals, and for more ways to get involved.
On May 3rd we launched “Cambodia reawakening – One year after the Khmer Rouge”, a photo exhibition by John Burgess. Now that the exhibition is closed to the public we would like to look back on the opening event. Speeches were given, guests enjoyed the photos and Anjali House’s Young adults explained their work. A recap of what happened that night. One by one the guests started to arrive and after welcoming them it was time for some speeches. Although John Burgess was in the USA, he had a few words to say about the exhibition, how he experienced reporting from Cambodia in 1980 and the collaboration with the young adults of Anjali House. Next it was our director Simon’s turn to say a few words. She emphasized the importance of today’s young generation to learn from the past. You can read the full speech here. “I remember when I was in high school. We learned about the Khmer Rouge in class. That was 20 years ago. Today, the teachers in public schools barely talk about that time period. This is dangerous. Every young Cambodian must know how and why it happened.” After the ceremonial part had finished the guests explored the exhibition and looked at the photos with the accompanied stories, poems and personal reflections. Sometimes they would stumble upon one of Anjali House’s young adults. Besides explaining their work they would also talk about the stories they had heard and the history they were taught or had discovered themselves. “My father had told me about it, he was a Khmer Rouge soldier. He had to work in prison. Oficially he was on the side of the Khmer Rouge, but his actions showed otherwise.” Gradually the guests started to leave, only more satisfied than when they arrived. And when the final guest had left it was time for us to call it a night. We would like to thank everyone for contributing to this wonderful night, with a special thanks to John Burgess. See the time lapse of the...read more
Photo Exhibition: Young Cambodians’ reflections on “Cambodia Reawakening – One year after the Khmer Rouge”
“Cambodia reawakening – One year after the Khmer Rouge”, a photo exhibition by John Burgess from May 4-17 at Footprint cafe in Siem Reap. Anjali House’s young adults have joined forces with John Burgess, a former journalist for The Washington Post and accompagnied the photos with their thoughts and feelings on the history of their country. The exhibition depicts the journey of John Burgess, who arrived in Phnom Penh in April 1980 with one of the first reporting visas granted by the country’s new government following the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge. Over the next two weeks, he explored the capital and traveled by car around the Tonle Sap, with stops in Siem Reap and Battambang. He found a country that in some places was stuck in the horrors of the past and in others was fast springing back to life, driven by the boundless energy and ingenuity of its people. Our young adults, representing the young generation of Cambodians who did not witness the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, have studied the photos of the exhibition and expressed their responses and feelings. Some have created poems, some have written stories or personal reflections. Each text has been printed in English and placed next to the photo that inspired it. We invite you to come to the photo exhibition from May 4th to May 17th from 10 am till 10 pm daily at Footprint cafés. The exhibition is free of charge. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh. ...read more
Parents came to participate in a workshop about domestic violence in March. In a society where people are embarrassed to talk about their problems, the women often take the blame if their issues come to light. Mom Phlan, Anjali House Social worker, explains why the workshop wants to break the taboo. Read the interview. What is the workshop about? In a society where people are embarrassed to talk about their problems, the women from the two communities we work with often take the blame if a problem comes to light. That is why we have decided to design a workshop about domestic violence. Indeed, we want to create a safe platform where the parents of our students (mostly women) have an opportunity to share what is on their hearts and minds. We have organised a first workshop in the beginning of March. . It started with the question “who among you has ever dealt with domestic violence?” All mothers present confessed that they had indeed dealt with difficulties like this in the past, but while the workshop continued, most of them admitted that it is in fact, an everyday issue. Why is it important to run a workshop on domestic violence? The women of our community often deal with domestic violence, sometimes on a daily basis. Most of the time, they have no clue how to address their problems or where to find help. We want to provide these women a safe platform where they can talk about their challenges. Moreover, we inform them about local NGOs that specifically deal with domestic abuse and encourage them to contact these organisations. During the workshops, we also want to raise awareness about the consequences of domestic violence on the lives of the children. We don’t make them feel guilty. The aim is to make them aware that domestic violence might affect their children’s attendance in school, test results and overall behavior. In their future life, it could influence how they react to arguments in their own households. So basically, as long as domestic violence is still a problem not dealt with, it will continue and to the extreme where it will be normalised by children and mothers as a “normal” scene within the household. Awareness must break this mindset. What is the impact of the domestic violence workshop? During the last workshop, the emotions ran high when a woman was explaining that her husband, who regularly drinks, comes home often hitting her and the children. She tried to please him in every way she could but he keeps finding flaws in her behaviour, like being a bit too friendly to the neighbours. For this woman, just being able to talk about what was happening at home was a relief. She felt supported and this is a very important first step. Now, all the mothers know they have a place to speak their minds without any judgements and if the situation continues or worsens, they also know they can speak to me privately. Over a long period of time these workshops can make a difference in the community and provide better living standards for our students. A former volunteer and also a professional social worker who had supported me with the design of this workshop said “the first step towards a solution...read more
At Anjali House, we provide unlimited drinking water and 2 nutritious meals a day. Giving a decent meal to our 120 students is an essential part of our basic care program and most of the time, a privilege the children would not otherwise benefit from if they did not attend the school. Who is behind the scene? Portrait of Prom Thorn, Anjali house cook. Prom Thorn is a typical Khmer woman. She is dressed in a turtle neck, a blouse and long trousers, and unbelievably modest and shy. She has been the Anjai House cook for the past five years, five days a week. Slowing down doesn’t fit her agenda of being a single mom, who also has to provide food and education for her family of four. “I get up in the morning at around 5 and I leave for work at around 5.30 am. At 6.00 am, I prepare the breakfast that includes porridge, Khmer noodles or soup for the 50 students attending the local school in the morning. At 7.45 am, most of the children have finished eating and wash their plates. I then go over the 50 plates, the cutlery and the cups to make sure they are clean. After that, I wash the utensils, clean the kitchen and it is time to rush to the local market. Every week I get a shopping list that meets the need of nutrients for all the youngsters. At the market, I have to find the right ingredients in a big amount and within a budget of 70 dollars per meal. . At 10.30 am, I am back in the kitchen cooking lunch for 80 students who will be waiting for their meal at 11.30 am. I have to prepare every dish and make sure everybody has enough. A regular lunch includes rice, vegetables and meat or fish. At 12.30pm, I can take my 30mns break. Afterwards the cleaning ritual starts all over but more thoroughly and my day stops at around 4.00 pm. Prom Thorn waits until 6.00 pm for one of her boys who is one of Anjali House young adult student and who is volunteering at the library. When she gets home, she needs to cook dinner, do the household and give her children the attention they seek. Super woman! If you want to sponsor our food program, contact...read more
Anjali House has upgraded its garden project with the extension of a 1,000 square meter back area. The land that was hidden by over growth has been cleared and our students have already planted vegetables including long beans, winter melon, eggplants and tomatoes. The objectives: teach gardening to the students and a sustainable food source for the meals we serve them. Read about the expected impact of the garden project The garden project is part of our education program. The students enrolled at Anjali House live in a city and most of them don’t know how to grow vegetables and fruits. Learning gardening is a very useful knowledge for them in the future. We have organised training sessions provided by one of our partners and sponsors: Green Shoots Foundation. Young adults of Anjali House learned, for instance, how to set up a watering system and how to make organic fertiliser. The other objective of the garden project also supported by Forix Foundation is to increase our vegetable growth, with the end result being a sustainable food source. “The garden at the end, should provide at least 50% of the vegetables and fruits needed for the daily meals. This would lead to a significant decrease in our food expenses in the long term,” reports Samrith Hoeng, Anjali House Young Adults Coordinator. Read also a testimonial of Pheakdey, 17, one of our young gardeners. “Every Sunday in the morning – from 7:30 to 4:00 pm – I always go to Anjali House and learn about how to grow vegetables. For the first lesson, the teacher taught us how to make organic fertilizer. It was my favourite lesson. On the second day, our teacher divided us into 5 groups. (…) The teacher gave each group some long bean seeds. We dug the soil and we fertilized it. After lunch we went to the garden and put the seeds into the soil and soaked it with some water. The teacher told us we need to water the seeds every morning, afternoon and evening. One week later, we went to the garden and we were very happy to see our beans sprouting. (…) I am very happy to be part of this project.” Pheakdey, 17 years old To support our garden project: contact...read more
Last February, our students attended the 7th “Writing Through” workshop. These workshops allow the students to express themselves – in English – and build their confidence through creative writing in the form of short stories and poems. The workshop’s topic was “Bridges”. Sue Guiney, founding Director of Writing Through, writes “This year, I brought to them the theme of Bridges. These kids live in a city full of them, but they also come from incredible poverty, dysfunctional families and an ill-serving educational system, which means that thinking about other types of bridges other than the ones that cross rivers was completely new to them. […] I would only bring a theme as metaphorical as this one to Anjali House, though. Because I have been working with these students for several years, their writing and thinking skills are more advanced. I knew they could do it […]”. After one week of preparing their creative writing pieces, our students bravely took to the stage to read them at our Open Shool Day on February 12 in front of fellow students, parents, faculties and supporters. They have inspired all of us! Download the collection of short stories written by Anjali House students. Mag Writing Through_Anjali House_Feb...read more
We want to give our young adults as much information as possible about career orientation. The beginning of their professional life is around the corner and we want to encourage our students to think about their future, explore possible career options and understand the world of work. This month, they visited Sala Bai, a vocational training center for the hospitality industry, and Pactics, a local factory. Read their impressions. This month, our young adults visited Sala Bai, an NGO training underprivileged youngsters to work in hospitality. During the tour, they visited Sala Bai beauty salons, housekeeping department, restaurants, kitchen and office work. Our young adults also visited “Pactics”, a local factory producing high-quality microfiber products in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Sokim, 18:” I really enjoyed the tour and I liked the way the company takes care of its employees. I learned a lot of things especially how to motivate the employees” If you want to sponsor our young adult program, contact...read more
Hello everyone, My name is Kosal and I recently got back from a trip in Kuala Lumpur with my high school class. We are students in Wat Svay High School and members of the Science and Engineering group. We all are learning about recycling old things to reduce our waste by using knowledge from books and some information from internet research. In fact, we all learn how to create new things for people to use. Before leaving Siem Reap On 1st August, 2016, we received information the the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Engineering about an exhibition in Malaysia. After we received this information, we had to choose four projects to make exhibitions such as radio, line telephone, microscope, and electricity produced by a flower pot. In this exhibition there are many countries from Asia all coming together in one place. Each country could only choose 10 students. From Cambodia we had 10 students and 3 teachers. In this plan, we are using a lot of time to do work with the project. We didn’t get any money from the Ministry for it. All the funds we needed to find it ourselves by asking people who want to help our project such as NGOs (Sunrise, Ponheary Ly) and other sponsors from different places. We worked every night from 8pm to 10pm, 7 days a week. On Saturday and Sunday we worked in the afternoons from 1pm to 6pm. Finally, after much work we succeeded in completing all the products for the exhibition in Malaysia. Leaving Siem Reap On 1st November, 2016 there are 4 members from my group who left Siem Reap at 11pm and we arrived in Phnom Penh at 4am by bus. In the morning, there is a teacher from Beltie School who came to get us from the bus station to take us to their school. We stayed in the school to prepare our products to show the manager of the school at 10am. They then took us to the hotel to take a rest. At 1:30pm we left the hotel to go back to the school to show the manager and our assistants who will help us in the exhibition in Malaysia. There were six other students and their parents who came to see us at the school too. After finishing, we prepared our product and took it to the hotel. At night, the school took us to have dinner at a big restaurant in Phnom Penh called “Tonlai Basak”. In the morning we have to leave the hotel at 5am to go to the airport because we have to fly at 8:20am. We arrived in Malaysia at 12:00pm. In Malaysia the time is different from Cambodia, it is one hour ahead of us. Then we traveled to find the hotel and it took 1 hour from the airport by bus. When we arrived at the hotel, we prepared our product again because we know that in the plane it wasn’t safe. We have a big problem with our electricity producing flower pot, it didn’t work so we had to fix it for staying up all night. Luckily, in the morning it was working! In the afternoon we took our products to the exhibition. There were many things at the exhibition and many people coming...read more
Hello, My name is Sokim. I am 18 years old and in grade 10. Actually, I don’t have enough experience about camping and I don’t know how to prepare myself for it, but for this second camping trip it seems like another lesson for me. Even if we weren’t prepared for the rain, luckily we had tents to protect us if not 100% from the weather. I really love to stay in the tent with my friends while it was raining, that felt so warm. This camping showed me something that that I have never noticed, it is about being a leader. Anjali really cared about us, and they were really responsible for us. Even when there was a big rain, they still keep watching and walking around our tents, asking about our problems. Then they try to help and find solutions for us. Some of the teachers hadn’t slept, but they still tried to make us comfortable and have fun with us. That made me know that to be a leader is really hard. They have to keep us more important than themselves. That makes me so humble. That place is awesome! It also lets one know why culture, nature, and forests are important and why we have to protect it. I also enjoyed working with some new friends and the people there too. It looks like it didn’t need much from us besides our kindness and our relationship with them. They are really friendly and kind. Sounds like everything is well done, but what I didn’t love is the food and sleeping with 4 people in a small tent. But I understand about this because we had many people. But for the food, I think we should have separated into small groups mixed with boys and girls to meet new people. Group shot ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of...read more
Hello my name is Annie! I joined Anjali House as a long term Volunteer in May 2016 to help develop and maintain a small garden area within the school grounds. The area was sadly neglected but full of life and so much potential. I made it my mission to create a lovely vegetable plot for the children and staff. Anjali cooks two basic nourishing meals a day for all 120 children and now the garden is beginning to supply us with nutritious fruits and vegetables. Along the way much interest has been shown by students and staff alike which has led to the start of Garden Workshops for 3 classes every week. Each class is growing one vegetable from seed and has been educated about sustainability of crops and how to look after them. Their ages range from 6-14 years, and as well as educational it has to be fun!!! The lesson consists of explanation, cartoon video and garden work. Also creative artistic time painting murals on the walls where they have planted their veggies. We have Tomato, pumpkin and Khmer bean classes already up and running!!! Gardening is a delightful and fulfilling experience for old and young especially when the seeds grow by some miracle into food. Group in the garden ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of...read more