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.
In July, Anjali House staff received their first Child Safe workshop led by the organization Friends International. The purpose of the Child Safe workshop was to have Anjali staff learn how to identify if a child or youth suffers from neglect, physical, sexual or mental abuse. The staff learned the resources available to them to help the child, youth, and family from engaging in dangerous behaviors. At Anjali House, we understand the importance of making sure our students are safe and are accessing the care they need to be successful adults. Anjali House is committed to providing our students with a safe and happy environment both at home and at school. Children and youth are at a higher risk of suffering from many forms of abuse. The workshop led by Suzy Baudrez introduced the Child Safe Movement, an initiative which strives to protect children and youth from all forms of abuse. Anjali House staff defined the following terms; neglect, physical, sexual, and mental abuse. Staff identified the dangers and challenges that Anjali House children and youth face. According to Mom, Anjali House’s social worker, “… the changes that Anjali House students face is that parents are focused on working and don’t think about (their) child’s safety. As a result, the children are unsupervised a lot of the time.” Mom, together with Anjali House staff and the child’s or youth’s family work to solve the issue. Following the completion of the workshop, four members of our staff took an exam to become a Child Safe Agent. Once the results of the exam are known, four members of our staff may become Child Safe Agents and would work closely with Friends International to protect not only the students at Anjali House but also children and youth throughout Siem Reap. Anjali House is committed to protecting children and youth by engaging with their families and community. Anjali House will continue to work with organizations such as Friends International, and will continue to do staff training to provide services for children, youth, and their families. Learn more about our Family support...read more
Anjali House ran its second “positive discipline” workshop in June. The purpose of this workshop is to support and encourage parents to create a positive and safe environment at home. Led by our social worker, the families were able to discuss their experiences and personal issues about discipline. At Anjali House we understand that to support the children we also must try to address some of the systemic problems that affect their parents and families and provide them with advice. Many of Cambodian underprivileged families do not know how to react when they have an issue with their children. Considering a child’s feelings, creating dialogue and encouraging mistakes are not a common response to them. Our social worker, Mom, created the positive discipline workshop to support Anjali House’s families to build a positive relationship between them and their children. Through the workshop, the parents understand why it is important to consider their children’s feelings, build a dialogue with them and create rules agreed by both. Our social worker also explained to the families how to react when the children do not follow the rules and encourage an open communication in order to create a safe environment for them. Mom, Anjali House’s social worker explains: “Most of Anjali House’s parents do not know how to read or write so the workshop is based on a slideshow, activities and above all sharing personal experiences. For this second edition, some families from the first workshop came back to share their experiences and that was really appreciated by the new ones. It is important to continue this kind of workshops to support them and create a long term effect for the children.” Anjali House also provides an individual support to the families. Once a year, our social worker runs a “family assessment” to identify their problems and tailor the support we provide to them in order to respond to their specific needs. Some families will be invited to group workshops like this one. Others will also be offered individual meetings. Learn more about our Family support program...read more
Anjali House received 15 new computers and the new IT room is now operational. Our NGO wants to equip its students with strong computer skills and through new computer classes, has upgraded its educational program for all. Nowadays, computer skills are essentials in any professional careers. The Anjali House’ students come from underprivileged families and generally do not have access to a computer at home or at their public school. Their computer skills are limited. Thanks to the new IT educational program, every week, the students will have computer classes and will build sustainable computers skills. Since their youngest age, Anjali House students will be introduced to computer terminology and how to use a keyboard and a mouse. The young adults will learn all the basic software such as Excel, Word or PowerPoint. Our students will also be able to access the computers when, for example they want to write their homework or create job or vocational training applications. “As part of our educational program, creating these IT classes with a regular schedule and pedagogical program will equip our students with all the computer skills they need to be successful in their future professional life” explains Bun Thorng, Anjali House Head Teacher. Learn more about our educational...read more
Since January, Anjali House has started to run the English Access Microscholarship Program to 35 talented 13-20 year old youth from impoverished backgrounds. The “Access Program” developed and sponsored by the U.S. State Department provides a foundation of English language skills through a 2 year after school program. The 12th of January, Anjali House welcomed the U.S. Ambassador William A. Heidt for the opening ceremony of the “Access Program” mentioning that for the first time, 35 students of Siem Reap were enrolled in the “Access Program” joining other students in 8 other Cambodian provinces. This was a celebration for Anjali House. During this two-year program the students will learn about English language, American culture and values and gain the ability to compete for U.S. government exchange and study programs. At the end of the “Access Program” they will also receive a certificate to testify to their level of English. Simon Ke, Director of Anjali House explains: “The students attending the Access program were carefully chosen. It is a good opportunity for them to improve their English skills and be successful in their future endeavour. In 2019, after completing the program, some students will have the chance to get a scholarship and all will receive the certificate which is a great recommendation for their future professional life.” The access program includes one hour of after school classes from Monday to Friday and several excursions such as visits to universities or museums. Also, twice a year, the U.S State Department organises a meeting with all the students from all the eight provinces which run the access programs in Cambodia. The purpose is to create interaction and awareness about English studies. “I like the Access program because it’s a great opportunity. Not only to improve my English, but also to create more relationships. Through the program, we meet new people and we share experiences. It is really interesting and useful.” says Borith, one of Anjali House’s access program student. The Access program is run at Anjali House. However, it is an open program and 5 students come from other public schools in Siem Reap. Anjali House is glad to run this program and to be able to also support external students by providing them a recognized English language class. Learn more about our Young Adult...read more
Last year, Anjali House decided to create a sustainable garden in the school. The purpose of the Anjali House’s garden project is to use the produce from the garden as part of our nutrition program and teach organic gardening to our students. Our Basic Care program includes two free meals a day. Anjali House’ students aged from 3 to 19 years old need to have nutritious meals to develop into healthy young adults. The Anjali House garden provides a wide variety of organically grown fruits and vegetables to ensure a daily healthy meal to our 120 students. The garden is also a way to raise awareness about sustainable farming practices, protecting the environment, how to grow food organically and teach them valuable lesson in teamwork, leadership, agriculture and community service. Gardening is giving them a key to a good, natural and healthy nutrition. Annie, our garden Volunteer explains: “Through gardening, children are learning also how to take care of things. Like any human, every plant needs to eat and drink to grow. The kids are fascinated by seeing a seed grow up and become a plant which gives fruits and vegetables. It is also a way for them to understand how much it is important to take care of them.” Discover our video on the progess of the Anjali House’s garden project Learn more about our Basic Care...read more
On May 3rd we organized the exhibition “Cambodia reawakening – One year after the Khmer Rouge” with photos taken by John Burgess, former Washington Post journalist. The exhibition gave the Young Adults of Anjali House the opportunity to express their feelings about their country’s past and write down poems, stories and their thoughts. Their work was shown next to the photos in the exhibition. Now we would like to share their amazing work with you. To prepare the young adults, we first wanted to test their knowledge on what happened during the period of the Khmer Rouge. Together we watched the movie ‘The Killing Fields’ and discussed it in group. We gave each young adult the opportunity to express their thoughts, the stories they’ve heard and what has been taught to them so far. The next day Sue Guiney, an American author, organized a workshop for the young adults. Her NGO Writing Through stimulates creative writing of poetry and short stories to develop conceptual thinking, English fluency and self-esteem. Sue helped the Young Adults putting their emotions and thoughts on paper. John Burgess’ photographs were a wonderful opportunity for Anjali House’s young adults to link their country’s past to its present and future, link the idea of reconstruction to stability, and hope to ambition. Read more about the exhibition ‘Cambodia Reawakening – One Year after the Khmer Rouge’ by John Burgess. You can read the Young Adult’s work next to John’s photo and caption in the images below. Click on the first image to open the gallery....read more
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