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.
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
“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 ...read more
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. ...read more
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...read more
We, at Anjali House, aim to foster a vibrant learning environment in which our volunteers from across the world play a huge role. For the students at Anjali House, many of whom have never travelled outside Siem Reap, this is a great way to get worldly wise.
Beginning this month, we will be sharing articles authored by our volunteers on how they are leveraging their skills for the benefit of our children. We begin this series called, ‘The Volunteer Desk’ with Mart and Sigrid who are studying to be organizers of international sports events.read more
Because we want to ensure that our teachers are giving out their best, last month we organised a workshop with the goal of teaching them the importance of teamwork, and how developing skills that promote team work is beneficial for the learning environment and the individual students.read more
Sexual abuse of children is a complex problem to deal with because of the nature of the abuse and the taboo surrounding it. On 24th August, Anjali House and First Step Cambodia organized a workshop for 30 development workers to raise awareness about sexual abuse on boys by dispelling myths surrounding it.read more
Our Khmer Director, Simon Ke, has witnessed and guided Anjali House through out these years. Her quiet determination and gentleness is the nurturing force behind the change Anjali House has been able to bring about. This month the focus is on tracing the development of Anjali House through her ever smiling eyes.read more