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 or sign up for our monthly Newsletter for an in-depth look at our activities, fundraising goals, and for more ways to get involved.
We all need signs in our lives that we are headed the right way. I got mine when a young participant of the ‘Writing Through’ creative writing workshop I conduct at Anjali House asked me a serious question. Writing Through workshops use the writing of poems and stories in English to develop literacy, thinking skills and self-esteem, and in this workshop we had been discussing and writing about the different meanings of the word ‘bridge’. The Anjali House student asked me “Sue, can pain be a bridge?” and I was amazed. What a complex and sensitive insight that was. At that point I knew that both Anjali House and I were heading in the right direction. From Writing Through to now being a board member at Anjali House, I feel enriched and grateful for the change we have been able to bring about through education, health, and the arts.While we have been able to bridge the gap for many underprivileged children, we have also been able to create newer bridges with organizations and people across the world. They not only understand our journey but share our vision of nurturing the younger generation of Cambodia in a way that can have far-reaching consequences for the community as a whole. These bonds of friendship make us stronger and hopeful for the years ahead. Anjali House was born out of a simple idea of impacting the lives of the young Khmer generation so that they can be the change they want to see. Back in 2005, it began quite literally with the Angkor Photo Festival motivating young children to see and capture their world through the camera and they are, till today, our longest standing friendship. These friendships have enabled us to create an environment where children do not have to beg or work, and instead spend their most formative years to develop both their physical and mental capacities. Our Education, Basic care, Family Support, and Young Adult programs are all based on this philosophy of raising the collective consciousness of the community through smart partnerships and widening the circle of influence. We are thankful to all our donors who have made sure that our programs achieve their desired results. We feel that we have been successful if, for example, an Anjali House student inspires his cousin to not drop out of school, or to follow basic hygiene practices, or to pursue access to basic healthcare, or influences their parents’ behavior to ensure a healthy and peaceful environment at home. Simon Ke, Director of Anjali House, looks back at our early days fondly. “I still remember the days when Green Gecko and Anjali House ran from a small house on the outskirts of Siem Reap to provide support to underprivileged kids and their families. While we have both grown individually, over the years we continue to share best practices and our students regularly attend workshops conducted by Green Gecko.” We have also been able to provide aid in cash and kind to our students thanks to our partners like DaLimit Foundation, Angkor Hospital for Children, Chance2Study and 99 Bikes, through access to funds, yearly health checkups, scholarships and bicycles, respectively. Our Young Adult Program prepares our teens to integrate successfully into their future professional lives. Considering this is a crucial time for them, we are grateful to...read more
For so many families in the province of Siem Reap, the simple act of surviving requires strength and everyday commitment. This is the story of a woman, her family, their struggles and how they found help and hope for a better future, illustrated by Lilu Herlambang. Through Anjali House’s education and basic care programs, Bopha and Soriya* found hope and they were able to turn their lives around. We are making sure that many children like them are able to get access to what all children deserve. Monthly donations help us in keeping the organization stable in the long run and enables us to support more families and their children throughout the years. Be part of the solution: Become a monthly donor today Check out other works by Lilu: you will find the stories of Karona, Sovann and Suki on this website, and other stories on her page. *Names have been modified to protect the privacy of the students and their...read more
From the first day on, photography has always been a part of Anjali House. It is a way of expression that our students have used since the founding of the NGO, and it is still having an impact both locally and abroad. Anjali House came to life as a project of the Angkor Photo Association, and Angkor Photography Festival Association in 2005. Back then, a group of photographers got together to promote photography and highlight humanitarian issues in Southeast Asia. Ever since, Photography has played a key role in the development of Anjali House. Over the course of one week, the students are provided with cameras and guided in small groups to capture what interests them. In the past, the workshops have provided a platform to the students to look at photography as an alternate career path, putting forth professional photographer Roun Ry who is now volunteering at Anjali House. Recently some of the photographs of the Anjali House students were displayed in an auction at a local Non-Profit Cafe called Fat Panda’s, which supported Anjali House in June. The event was combined with a food and wine tasting and gave everyone a closer insight into Cambodia through the lens of our students.The photographs of the students also gained some international recognition this month with “Le Monde”, one of the most influential magazines in France, featuring photographs taken during the Angkor Photo Festival...read more
In June, nine of our younger students visited Rehash Trash, a social enterprise dedicated to supporting underprivileged families while collecting and recycling plastic bags to save the environment. During their visit, our students learned how to turn old to new and learned a valuable lesson about recycling. The students arrived in the morning and spent a couple of hours at Rehash Trash, following each step in the work process together with the employees. They got creative while also learning a lesson about sustainability and the importance of recycling. By collecting approximately 5000 plastic bags per week, the enterprise has a lot of materials to work with, which gets recycled into bracelets, purses, baskets and even dresses. Before starting the creative process however, the materials had to be cleaned thoroughly to get rid of germs and make for a prettier end product. By cutting the bags into stripes, they can be crocheted into many different shapes, turning old trash into something new. With a little help from the Rehash Trash employees, the students picked up the method quite fast. Each student started their own little project for the day, making a personal accessory they could take home afterwards. After an afternoon of busy crocheting, the students ended up with keychains, bracelets and a proud smile on their faces. Educating our students about issues like sustainability in an engaging way helps them to develop a mindful attitude from a young age. By supporting our Education Program, you can help our students develop into healthy, well-adjusted young adults, equipped with the skills and support they need be successful in their future endeavours. Become a monthly...read more
At Anjali House we encourage our students to think for themselves using their creativity and imagination rather than limiting them with patterns of how to think. Dreams are an essential part of growing up and at Anjali House, we strive to encourage our students to express what they dream about. Watch the video. Learning, growing and expressing themselves independently is a vital step in every child’s development. Simon Ke, Director of Anjali House comments: “During 10 years of running educational activities, we observed that the children at Anjali House are motivated and enthusiastic about their education. In public education in Cambodia, children are used to reproducing what teachers tell them and are not pushed to think for themselves. At Anjali House the children learn how to think, not just to copy.” Following this principle, we wanted to give some of our students the opportunity to express themselves completely without confinements and just dream and be kids for a while. With a group of 16 students, we took some time off to dream, without mistaking it for goals and other worldly parameters of success. The kids watched “Alice in Wonderland” and were asked what they dream about. They drew on paper whatever came to their mind and were free to express themselves freely. Putting the students at the heart of their own learning is a key principle that outlines our educational programs. We do this by offering organic gardening activities that teach our students to work independently and grow their own vegetables, by running Workshops in Photography and Creative writing as well as many other artistic activities. We need your support to help us develop our students into healthy, well-adjusted young adults, equipped with the skills and support they need be successful in their future endeavors: Become a Monthly...read more
Sokteang was a student at Anjali House for more than ten years and is now part of our team of volunteer teachers. Sharing his knowledge with the current students as a volunteer is his way to give back to Anjali House and the community. This is his story. “My name is Preab Sokteang and I am 20 years old. Before 2004 I lived with my family in the Prev Vihear Province, but then my parents divorced and separated so my two sisters and I had to stick together. Around that time, I also heard about Anjali House for the first time, from one of my friends who is a student here as well. Eventually my older sister found a job in Siem Reap and we moved over. With the help of Anjali House, I was then able to go to school and receive an education. The three of us have lived together ever since. By now I am in the last year of high school while attending continuing education classes at the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) in Siem Reap. My favourite subject has always been English, which is partly why I started volunteering as an English teacher at Anjali House around one and a half years ago. It’s also really rewarding to support my community and give back to the organization that helped me so much in the past. At the same time, I can improve my own skill set for the future. I have many great memories here at Anjali House like our trip to Battambang all together or when we won the football championship with our local team. It was great growing up here with all my friends around. That’s what I wish for the students here as well, so I’m glad I can be part of that. My studies are going well right now. I have not missed a single day of classes and both my Homework and Class participation were graded “Excellent”. Next year I would like to start attending Build Bright University. I want to study either Business Administration or Management. My ambition is to find a job at the airport, so I would like to keep improving my English. I want to be a role model for the students here at Anjali House, so I study hard. I’ll receive my final grades soon and I hope they will be as good as last term.” With your regular donations we were able to have an impact on Sokteang’s life. It is through consistent and long-lasting support that we are able to help our students develop into healthy, well-adjusted young adults, just like Sokteang, who are equipped with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavors. If you want to help him and other students attend university, you can contribute to our continuing education fund with a monthly donation. $50 a month can help one of our scholarship students to attend University for an entire year. Become a Monthly...read more
Sovann & Suki have been students at Anjali House for a long time. Our photographer and Illustrator Lilu has created a striking photo essay about their lives. It paints a picture of both the struggles as well as the hopes and ambitions of an entire generation of young Cambodians. (Please click on each photo to move forward) You can also download the Photo essay here: Sovann & Suki – Into the Past and Future To help families like Sovann & Suki’s you can foster our Family Support Program. By donating $20/month you can help us to provide counseling with our social worker to one family as well as medical assistance and parenting workshops for one year....read more
New Year is one of the greatest celebrations in Khmer culture. Of course, Anjali House could not miss out on that, so we organised an entire day of fun activities. It is Thursday the 12th of April, the last day at Anjali House before the Khmer New Year holiday. The children spent the last week preparing the scenery, practicing performances and presentations. Now the day has finally come. One of the biggest celebrations in Cambodian culture, New Year. At 7:00 o’clock the first volunteers and teachers arrive for the final preparations. About an hour later the opening ceremony begins. Two monks arrive and approach the main door quietly. Inside, students, volunteers and teachers have gathered in a big circle. As the initial chatter ebbs away and silence spreads in the hall, the monks sit down and start singing Buddhist chants. After receiving different offerings from the students and blessing the crowd, they come to close the ceremony. Soon thereafter everyone leaves to gather again outside. By now, silence has turned into chatter again and the first performances are set up. The students sing together with volunteers and perform traditional dances. Afterwards everyone joins in for games that were prepared by the teachers and volunteers. Both Cambodian and western games are played, and all get the chance to join in. When everyone had their turn, it is time for lunch. For this special day, of course, there has to be a special meal. Our cook has spent hours on her delicious hand-made spring rolls, served next to local chicken wings. When tummies are filled, and plates are emptied, everyone returns to the celebration. The students sing, laugh and play for hours on end until the final water-fight is being set up. Students and volunteers sit down in a row, facing a crowd of students that are equipped with cups, buckets and bottles of water. At once, the students rush forward, and within minutes everyone is soaked from head to toe. This marks the beginning of the final part of the celebrations and the remainder of the day is being spend dancing together in a big circle, splashing water in the air as the sun slowly sets above Anjali...read more
Last month we held a workshop on Intercultural Communication here at Anjali House. The aim was to exchange perspectives and learn from each other to improve internal communication and embrace diversity. At Anjali House, we have many volunteers from different countries working besides the local Khmer staff. Together with the rich diversity that comes with all these different nationalities, there may also come misunderstandings. But in order to overcome these misunderstandings, they have to be understood. That is why Anjali House organised a workshop on intercultural Communication last month. We talked about cultural differences, especially between the Cambodian culture and the western cultures of our Volunteers and sensitised our staff towards more mutual understanding. Communication is always a matter of interpretation, which is why this workshop aimed to share experiences about different customs, values and beliefs. We lead open discussions, shared opinions and talked about “do’s” and “don’ts”. A lot of the miss-communication in the work field starts with a lack of knowledge or the hesitation to ask which is why we felt the need to address and tackle these issues by holding this workshop at Anjali House. After all, Communication is a key part in almost every working process and is therefore essential to a well-functioning working...read more
The renovation of the kitchen is finally over! One of the reasons for this renovation is that we are very cautious about hygiene, especially when cooking meals for all of our students. We also bought brand new pots and utensils to replace used ones. This way, our cook Prom Thorn continues to work in a healthy and safe environment and has all she needs to cook nutritious and delicious meals. The Kitchen is one of the most important parts at Anjali House as it the place where our cook Prom Thorn cooks her delicious and most importantly nutritious meals for our students. To make sure she can do that as well as possible, we recently started renovating our kitchen. Now that the renovation is complete, the room is opened up a little with an included serving hatch. This way the children do not longer have to come into the kitchen one by one and it is not only more hygienic but also quicker. Apart from that, we were able to provide our cook with a whole new set of brand new kitchen equipment to replace the old one. In the renovation process we also added some windows for more fresh air and natural light and therefore a more comfortable workspace for Prom Thorn. This renovation was very important to us to ensure that we keep serving nutritious and healthy meals to our students and to make sure our cook can operate in a comfortable and safe work environment. Find out more about our Basic Care Program Two healthy and nutritious meals every day are a privilege not every child in Cambodia benefits from. With your help, Anjali House is able to tackle this issue directly. A donation of just 15$ a month can provide a child with food and clean drinking water as well as hygiene supplies for an entire year...read more