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.
As a part of our family support program, social workers are responsible for the family assessments. The purpose of this activity is to understand our students’ families’ social situation and evaluate the support they need. Mom, our social worker explains the process and the challenges she faces. The family assessments are at full swing at the moment at Anjali House. Mom, Anjali House’s social worker is meeting each family at their home. The topics discussed are usually about their financial problems, health, hygiene and any issues that their children might face. Children’s problems related to school and their behavior are also discussed with the families. “It is important we keep a close link with the families of our students. Problems can arise at any time and meeting them on a regular basis enables us to assess their situations and explore what Anjali House can do to help them solve their issues.” explains Mom, social worker. She adds, “Families are usually very cooperative as they know we come here to help and that we have their children’s best interest in mind. However, occasionally, we are confronted with resistance from the parents or the guardians. Most of the time, they are afraid to talk about their problems and be stigmatized. In that case, we continue explaining why we want to meet them and why it is important for their children’s well-being and education. It is about building trust and it takes time“. Click on the link to learn more about our Family support program:...read more
All our 6 to 8 year old students have participated in a workshop about personal hygiene. They learned why it is important to shower with soap and brush their teeth every day. As part of the basic care program, these workshops help us ensure that our youngest students stay healthy and learn good habits for life. Our social worker held a workshop with the youngest students about personal hygiene. Together with their two teachers, the children were educated how to brush their teeth properly and wash their hands with soap. At Anjali House, personal hygiene is crucial. “We want our students to be healthy” says Anjali House director Simon Ke “It is important they understand how basic hygiene impacts their health and school life.” As a part of the workshop, the students were shown videos in both Khmer and English about proper dental care and hand washing. In addition to hygiene, topics about nutrition were also discussed. In practice, teachers every day follow a schedule when they take their students to brush teeth and take a shower. It is also a way to ensure that students at Anjali House follow the basic hygiene guidelines and keep diseases away. Click on the link to learn more about the Basic Care...read more
Anjali House recently partnered with the Music Art School Siem Reap to have some of the students receive choir classes twice a week. Musical education develops creativity, self-discipline and self-confidence. A long term essential initiative at the heart of our educational program. In June, Anjali House started a partnership with the Music Art School of Siem Reap to teach students choir classes. Anjali House understands the importance of providing children with the opportunity to access various forms of expression in order to help them develop into healthy and successful adults. According to Simon Ke, director of Anjali House, “Choir classes allow students to express themselves creatively, practice English, learn self-discipline, build self-confidence, and encourage students to work together.” This month, students have been learning how to warm up through scales and are practicing two songs: “Stand By Me” written by Ben E. King, Mike Stoller, Jerry Leiber and “Let it Be” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. According to Alexandre Scarpati, director of the Music Art School of Siem Reap “This year our goal is to organize a few events where the children from the Music Art School and children from other organization(s) such as Anjali House can perform together with professional musicians in front of the public.” As the children progress and improve in their singing they will have an opportunity to record a few songs at a professional studio. They will also start learning musical instruments. Many students at Anjali House would not have the opportunity to take music classes such as choir if it weren’t for the Music Art School of Siem Reap. The new partnership offers students a new space to be creative and express themselves. For more information about the programs Anjali House offers to its students please visit our education...read more
In July, Anjali House staff received their first Child protection workshop led by the organization Friends International. The purpose of the Child protection 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