Blog


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.

Sustainability interventions at Anjali House

Sustainability interventions at Anjali House

Nona, our Social Work intern, is currently working on multiple sustainability interventions as part of her one year volunteering stint with Anjali House in Siem Reap, Cambodia. She strives to raise awareness on subjects such as climate change and plastic pollution to stimulate the staff and students to be more aware about the matter. This awareness is created through in-house workshops and planned excursions to NGOs working in the space of environmental sustainability. Nona has conceptualized, planned and coordinated such sessions for our young adults. She recently coordinated a session to learn how to recycle paper with Naga Earth, an organization working in the environment conservation and public health space. Some of the students also watched the documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’, which made them more aware about the current condition of our oceans. Additionally, we focus on sustainability during the gardening classes where students make their own compost, recycle and grow vegetables organically.This month the younger students attended presentations by the Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) and the Eco Warriors about biodiversity and plastic pollution at the Angkor High School.They also attended a plastic clean-up at Pearaing Lake Biodiversity Center with the Eco Warriors. In addition, they participated in outdoor activities to study the wildlife and wetlands surrounding the Pearaing Lake in Siem Reap. Last week the younger students visited Rehash Trash for a workshop. Rehash Trash turns roadside rubbish into stylish products while providing a steady income for disadvantaged women in Siem Reap. The lovely women helped the students washing plastic bags and making keychains out of the material. Thanks to Kampot Art Gallery, we have 120 informative books in Khmer which explain the effects of plastic pollution. This enables the youngest students at Anjali House to partake in and understand the interventions that are taking place. The students have learned a lot about plastic pollution, and therefore we wanted to reward them by providing them with reusable water bottles. We managed to get 130 reusable water bottles for everyone at the school thanks to Footprint Cafes, New Leaf Eatery, HAVEN, Phare Circus, Plastic Free Cambodia and Andreas Loftesnes. Orkun...

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International Day of Families, 2019

International Day of Families, 2019

Families all over the world have different dynamics depending on their cultural backgrounds and economic conditions. But it is difficult to classify them as better or worse. Every family faces issues and challenges depending on whether they are single-parent families, large families, stepfamilies, grandparent families, rich and poor families… Studies suggest that there is no difference between rich and poor families in terms of aspirations. Children have the basic need ‘to have fun’ and ‘to fit in’, irrespective of their demographic and economic backgrounds. Similarly all parents want to be able to support their children in any way possible. The only difference is that poor families are much more limited when it comes to realising their hopes because they need to work hard at meeting their basic needs first. Studies have also established a correlation between poverty and dysfunctional families. For instance, poverty creates a stressful environment and that in turn adversely influences the parents ability to play their role effectively. The families that our students come from have very low incomes. On average, a family of five earns around 165$ per month which is not enough to cover the cost of food, hygiene supplies and education. For this reason, at Anjali House, we assist our students and their entire families through our ‘Family Support’ program which is designed to enable families to work together in creating a safe environment for a child to grow into a healthy and happy adult. In 2018, 65% of all families were approached for a family assessment to understand our students’ families’ social situation and evaluate the support they need. 17 families were counselled about child abuse and domestic violence. Our Social Worker also conducted workshops on topics such as good parenting, discipline and basic hygiene. Anjali House also provides emergency access to financial aid and access to healthcare. If you believe that having a strong and healthy family system is important for a child to grow and be happy, you can show your support today and help us continue assisting families in 2019:...

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World Day Against Chid Labour

World Day Against Chid Labour

“Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams!” This is the theme for ‘World Day Against Child Labour’ in 2019. This day was marked as an important day for child human rights in 2002 by the International Labour Organization (ILO). This year, the ILO is celebrating 100 years of work  done to address social issues and to promote decent work conditions all over the world. Inspite of this, today 152 million children between the ages of 5 to 17 years are engaged in activities as  ‘child labour’. Most do not have the means to attend school and have very little or no time to play. Among these children, many don’t have access to a nutritious diet and basic hygiene. They are forced to work while they should be focusing on learning, growing and playing. In Cambodia, children from the poorest families are forced to work, sometimes doing activities that place them in danger. According to ILO, 313,000 children are victims of exploitation, such as drug trafficking and prostitution. Others work in fields, in factories or in construction, instead of attending school, playing with their friends or spending quality time with their families. Because of this many children in Cambodia are deprived of a healthy childhood essential for the overall well being of children in the long run. The ILO has set standards with regard to children involved in any kind of economic activity by classifying that “only non-hazardous light work should be carried out by those between the ages of 15 and 17”. However, many people in Cambodia are still not aware of this rule or they choose to ignore it on purpose. The World Day Against Child Labour aims to raise awareness around this issue and mobilise the masses towards the cause. The key to end child labour is education. With access to quality education, children can find decent jobs once in adulthood. And because they won’t be living in extreme poverty anymore, their own children won’t be forced to participate in the family revenue. At Anjali House, we believe that no child should be forced to work. Our Education Program aims to teach our students specific skills which are going to be useful in the future, such as life skills, soft skills, living values, English, Computers and budgeting. We also encourage them to analyse situations and develop critical thinking. Plus, our Young Adults Program prepares our students for the job market. We also support families and provide financial aid in case of emergencies. This way children don’t have to work to support their family in critical situations. In 2018, none of our students under 16 years old were working compared to 36% of Cambodian children aged from 5 to 14, according to UNICEF. It is really important for us that our children have the means to spend 100% of their time to being a child. They should be enjoying their childhood and dreaming about their future peacefully. The Cambodia Government has committed itself to end child labour in Cambodia. In order to achieve this goal, it requires support from organisations within the country too. But organisations such as ours need financial support from it’s donors to make sure that every child can focus on learning, playing and dreaming. You can join this worldwide movement with us and...

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‘Anjali House’ alumni set the path for our young ones

‘Anjali House’ alumni set the path for our young ones

During this years Khmer New Year celebration, we invited former Anjali students to join in the celebrations and inspire the younger ones by sharing their stories. The majority of Anjali House students remain with us until the age of 16, so there were many stories during their time at Anjali House and after.  We encouraged the alumni to take on the stage and talk about their life experiences– the circumstances they grew up in, how they transformed their lives during their time at Anjali and what they’re doing after Anjali House. It is important for us that our students learn from the experiences of our alumni.  We are proud that our programs have helped the alumni get a better understanding of how our students feel as they were in the same situation as them a few years ago. The younger ones could also identify with alumni easily and we hope that this interaction will inspire them for their lives ahead.  Roun left Anjali House in 2014 and is now a Freelance Photographer. He discovered his passion for Photography during annual workshops with Giving Lens at Anjali House. After grade 12, he decided to make a living out of this passion and taught himself how to become a good photographer.  According to him, everyone is born with a special talent. If you are not good at something, it’s okay because for sure, there is something else for you. He says you should never give up chasing your passion. Roun still visits us at Anjali House and offers some help. He is currently supporting us by taking pictures and editing videos.  Hing Kosal was part of Anjali House for 7 years from 2010 until 2017.  Like many students, he says his favourite place at Anjali House was the garden. It is a very peaceful and quiet place where students can wonder around being only surrounded by nature. It is also a place where they can develop nurturing skills by taking care of plants.  During our Khmer New Year, Hing Kosal wanted to tell our students that it’s okay to feel different kinds of emotions. We sometimes can feel overwhelmed by everything that’s happening to us but it’s important to be mindful of those emotions to ensure that they don’t get the best of you. He is currently studying IT at the University of Puthisastra.   This is Sokim. She left Anjali House last year, in 2018, after being one of our students for 3 years. Sokim says what she misses the most at Anjali House was the lunch area, as it was her favourite place.  She mostly loved it because it’s cooler than everywhere else. It’s a bit windy. But she also loved this place because you can see the beautiful garden from there.  Sokim is still a student. She is studying English at ACE and she is planning to go to University to continue studying English. To her, it’s very important that our students keep going no matter what and trust the teachers.  Vireak has been with us since the beginning of Anjali House and never left. He was one of our students from 2007 until 2016. After grade 12, he went to University where he is currently studying Business Administration. At the same time, Vireak supports us by working as...

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Sustainable Living at Anjali House

Sustainable Living at Anjali House

On Valentine’s Day we introduced our young adults to Naga Earth, an organization best-known for it’s environmental projects towards raising awareness about community hygiene. They are involved in many environmental projects; e.g. they collect plastic straws from hotels and restaurants to shred and mold them into new long lasting products and up cycling oil to soap. Our students were given a tour at Naga Earth and they made paper out of recycled paper. Thank to one of our donor who was part of the workshop we have our own recycling kit. The young adults will be making their own paper and also educating the younger ones on it. Through this experience we were reminded of why it is important to live more sustainably, so in the months to come we will be focusing on raising awareness amongst the community. We are in contact with the director of NGO2 BambooShoot Foundation, who is also the founder of the Tonle Sap Eco Warriors. Our children will be attending more workshops on plastic pollution and sustainability, and they will join the Tonle Sap Eco Warriors to the Tonle Sap Lake in June, to do a big plastic clean-up amongst many other volunteers. Sustainability is important for many reasons, including environmental quality. In order to have healthy communities, we need clean air, natural resources, and an nontoxic environment. Living sustainably is not as hard as you may think. A little thought and a few simple adjustments to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your environmental ‘’footprint’’, without asking a lot of your time and effort. It is merely about forming new healthy habits. Tips for living sustainably 1. Reduce waste Think about what you are buying and if you really need it, whether that is food, clothing or something else.2. Use reusable cups When you go out for a drink, bring a reusable cup. Also say no to plastic straws, lids and bags if they are not necessary. Try to avoid take-away, instead slow down and dine in.3. Walk, bike and use public transport whenever possible It is not only good for your health, but also for the environment. If this is not an option, consider taking public transport or carpooling.4. Go paper free Save some trees by going paper free. Almost everything from your phone bill to your credit card statement can be viewed online. Contact your banks, utility providers and other service providers to go paperless.5. Recycle and dispose of waste properly Always recycle paper and plastic where possible. You might be surprised by what you can recycle or dispose of safely. 6. Reduce your energy Reduce the amount of energy you use, for example, by turning off the light when you leave a room and turning the thermostat down.7. Reuse items Reuse items instead of throwing them away, for example, pass on clothing to someone else if it does not fit you anymore and buy secondhand...

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Volunteer Desk – Marianne Landmann

Volunteer Desk – Marianne Landmann

Traveling from a young age is a chance. From America, Europe, Africa but also Asia, my family and I made many travels around the world. When I was 15, I travelled for the first time to Asia and it was a revelation. I knew I wanted to go back one day to help the people in need. One year after getting my degree in international tourism and hospitality management, and 7 years after my first travel to Asia, I was back in Siem Reap to fulfil my teenage dream. I already spent 9 months at Anjali House working for different projects and I am now starting a new mission during my last 3 months. I will be working with our computer teacher Calin to implement a ‘computer science curriculum’ we together created for each class. At Anjali House, computer science is part of the educational program. Each class spends one or two hours per week in the computer room. Thanks to our generous donors, the room is equipped with modern computers updated with the last version of Windows. For the youngest students, we are also using specific laptops adapted for children. The new curriculum now includes different parts: basic vocabulary about computers in general (computer parts, keyboard keys…)lessons about computers (computer history, peripheral device, what is internet…)lessons about typing and Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) depending on each class program To keep the children focused, we decided to include each part to each lesson. This will be followed by some free time to let the students discover online educational platforms in English and make each lesson more enjoyable. Part of the curriculum is also testing with diploma. We want to make sure that the students understand and remember the lessons to improve their own computer skills. And so, to motivate and encourage them to make more efforts, we will create our own Anjali diplomas the students will receive when they pass tests. As a foreigner, teaching computer science to children who are speaking a different language can be quite difficult. To adapt myself, I found a solution by using visual methods. It consists in showing the students images they can associate to vocabulary and keep using the same image to make them remember. To teach methods, I also use a visual method with comparison. It allows me to show the students what buttons do and when to use it. My goal for these last 3 months is to pass on my knowledge to give the students strong computer basics to help them create their own official documents. I also realized that teaching computer science makes the students improve their problem-solving skill that is essential in life. So, this last mission means more than teaching for me. It opens future opportunities because computers are technology and technologies are changing the...

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We learnt 5 things!

We learnt 5 things!

The Anjali Photo Workshops returned again this year and like the last 14 years was filled with chirpy reunions and activities organised by 8 professional photographers. These tutors volunteer their time in December every year as part of the Angkor Photo Festival to encourage creative expression of things that might be visible or invisible to the naked eye.  They learn to photograph, but more importantly they find new ways to look at the familiar, to engage and to express freely. Francoise Callier, the Coordinator of Anjali Workshops, looks at the last 14 years fondly and feels that the Anjali Workshops teaches the photographers as much as it has contributed to the development of the children. She is thankful to Antoine d’Agata, Pablo Patrizzi and Sohrab Hura who have nurtured the workshop from the beginning of time to it’s present form.  “2018 was an exceptional year for the children as their work  entered the archives of Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum along with exhibitions at South Caucasian Moving Museum of Photography, Suwon International Photo Festival in Korea, Mt. Rokko Festival in Japan and BRED Bank in Siem Reap Cambodia,” adds Francoise as she reflects on the change this workshop has been able to bring. Thanks to the returning nature of the workshop, the tutors have been able to customize their approach every year and at the same time build on what the children learnt the previous years. Sohrab Hura, one of the former tutor of the Workshop, compares this process to flying a kite. “You release some and then hold on to some,” he says.  We are sharing five ways our children are learning to tell better stories from 5 photographers who volunteered their time for the Anjali Photo Workshops, 2019.    Hak Kim Follow your instincts: Photograph what comes naturally to you, observe your surroundings closely and let your insides reflect in your photos.           Dennese Victoria Take a step forward: Sometimes self-doubt will freeze you but photography is about channeling this doubt and taking the first step irrespective            Sophal Neak Find your space: Find a place that allows you to think freely and to decide what you want to say           Sopheak Vong Draw your photograph: Treat your photograph as a blank canvas that you can fill with anything you wish           Roun RY Find a way: Sometimes telling a story involves crossing many hurdles, if you are resilient you will find a way       You can watch this video to find out how our children applied what they learnt during the workshop. Thank You to Heritage Hub, Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) and Anantara Angkor Resort for supporting us.  Por Xeang-ពស៊ាង on vocals accompanied by Chally Jet on the saxophone made the projection night at the Wat Bo Pagoda even more special. See you next...

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Under the Blue Sky

Under the Blue Sky

“There was an Earth There was life There was a plant Green, small, good smell Mixing together with lots of color A lot of animals are near We take care of them In a small farm.” These words by our young writers perfectly describes the last day of the week long ‘Writing Through’ workshop, a conceptual and critical thinking intervention designed and conducted by our board member Sue Guiney every year at Anjali House. “This is where the first Writing Through workshops were held, and our year always begins with a new workshop with these very special students,” adds Sue. The children use the ‘magic pencil’ to improve fluency in English, both speaking and writing; to develop capacity for conceptual thought; and to enhance individual self-esteem and the belief that one’s thoughts and feelings have value and are worth expressing. The sun and the wind gently pushed our children on as they recited some these magical poems in front of classmates, parents and teachers on a beautiful day in January, 2019.  The good weather, local sweets and Khmer music made the day even more memorable for everyone. The poems were inspired by the ‘natural world’ and took place in the backdrop of our garden whose upkeep instills a sense of responsibility and teamwork in our children. Sue was supported by Jess Blackledge, Assistant Director, Writing Through and Barbara Rittner, Facilitator to inspire the children to think and collaborate on ideas  relating to the ‘natural world’. Our programs are deeply rooted in giving back to the environment and with this intervention, they were able to beautifully curate & express stories from their time spent in community service. These poems have been converted into a magazine which you can view here:    We really hope that someday you all can can experience what we hope is a ‘better world’ for our children, we see them blossoming into beautiful individuals and this journey would not have been possible without your kindness.  Welcome      ...

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Workshop on Technology Innovations

Workshop on Technology Innovations

This month 37 children from Anjali House visited Phnom Penh with Bun thorng, our Head Teacher. The 3 days trip was planned to understand how technology can help solve problems facing the community at large. Community Service is part of our DNA and we are constantly looking for ways to support the village commune through awareness and cleaning drives. “This trip was designed so that we can take our understanding of the community to the next level and find ways to conserve through technology interventions”, informs Bun thorng who tried his best to keep the trip both educational and interesting for the children.  During their stay in the capital city, the group visited the Development Innovations (DI) center run by USAID to help civil society organizations, technology companies, social enterprises and young innovators to design and use information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and employ innovative processes to tackle Cambodia’s development challenges. Through various case study presentations and group discussions the children began to understand how new technologies can be used to tackle social and environmental issues in the community. For example, due to lack of access to timely information millions of Cambodians are displaced. The students understood how technology was used to develop Tepmachcha, the Khmer word for mermaid, a low-cost sonar stream gauge, or flood warning tool prototype. “What I loved about this trip was that there was no pressure to come up with instant solutions. We spent time away from the classroom so we can start thinking of ways to resolve the challenges we face in Cambodia. I hope to someday use my education and these excursions to come up with solutions that better our lives”, says Meas Sokuam after returning to Siem Reap. ...

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The Volunteer Desk – Nona Soumahu

The Volunteer Desk – Nona Soumahu

During my social work studies in the Netherlands I have learned it is important to get in touch with who I am for functioning as a social worker, as well as for my functioning as a human being. When I got to Cambodia, I started learning about self-love and I was eager to share this with the students at Anjali House. Many of these students come from environments where love isn’t expressed too often. Last month I started talking about this subject with the students. First I explained to them why it is important to find love within yourself and that self-love has to be intentional. By loving internally, love radiates externally. It also decreases the dependency on external factors, it helps you make better decisions and it leads to positivity. I started off with the Compliments Project. Every student had to sit with their backs to the whiteboard and let all of their classmates write down something nice about them. This resulted in some very sweet moments and the students gained confidence by being confronted with their qualities. In the following classes we discussed seven steps on how to achieve self-love; become mindful, act on what you need rather than what you want, practice good self-care, set boundaries, protect yourself, forgive yourself and live intentionally. Furthermore I made them complete the following sentences: I was really happy when… Something that my friends like about me is… I’m proud of… My family was happy when I… In school, I’m good at… Something that makes me unique is… Finally, I gave them a homework assignment to help them deal with receiving feedback. They had to ask a family member, a friend and a teacher to name five qualities and two things they can work on. I loved talking about this subject with the students. They were really focused throughout the classes and understood the importancy of self-love. During the evaluation they told me they learned about their strengths and weaknesses, how to commit themselves to something and why it is important to find love internally. Nona...

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