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.
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
Roat Panha has been at Anjali House for many years, starting as a young kid, later joining the Young Adults Program. Back in the day he did not dare to dream big, but during his time at Anjali House he became a confident and ambitious young adult. Now he is exceeding in his IT studies at Build Bright University. Besides that he volunteers at Anjali House almost every day, sharing the knowledge from his studies. This is his story. Panha has been at Anjali House for many years and his journey has been exceptional. When he was young he did not believe he could make it. He believed that he would one day become part of the local gangsters group. His development at Anjali House has shifted his mindset entirely. Panha joined the Anjali House Young Adults Program when he was 15 years old. Through perseverance and determination, he managed to become an IT student at the Build Bright University supported by the scholarship program at Anjali House. The shy young boy that entered the building many years ago, left as a confident, capable young man, ready to set out into a brighter future. But he did not leave for good. Panha is coming to Anjali House almost everyday to volunteer before he goes to University in the evening. He shares what he learns in his studies by providing computer classes to the younger students and also by organising some sports classes. Panha wants to encourage Anjali House’s students to take the same path he took and achieve their dreams. He is a true inspiration not only to other Anjali House’s students, but to all of us. Watch his testimony Anjali House helped Panha to change his life for the better. Your regular donations made this possible. It is through consistent and long-lasting support that we are able to help our students develop into healthy, well-adjusted young adults, equipped with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavours, just like Panha. Rewrite a student’s story and become a monthly donor....read more
From being expelled from her apartment to having a new shelter and her very own sewing machine: this is the story of Muth Sina, the mother of Karona and Lita, two students at Anjali House. A couple of months ago Muth Sina was living in a small apartment with her two children – Karona and Lita – who are students here at Anjali House. She works as a cleaner and was able to earn some additional income working with her landlord’s sewing machine. She tried her best and worked hard despite her health problems but in the end she was not able to afford the rent anymore. Sina and her children were kicked out and had no place to live. Luckily another one of her former landlords offered her a little bit of land on his property where she could live. It was only a small piece of land without any shelter. Anjali House stepped in and negotiated with the landlord. Together we came to an agreement and were able to build a shelter for Sina, Karona and Lita on the property. This was a big relief for Sina and took a lot of pressure off the already troubled mother. But still, her job as a cleaner was barely enough to provide for her kids. That is why Anjali House organised to provide Sina with her very own sewing machine. She is now able to earn extra income and support her family. Anjali House believes that taking an active part in the family lives of our students is crucial for them to benefit from education and look forward to a brighter future. Learn more about our Family Support program Help us today by donating $20/month which will provide counselling with our social worker to one family as well as medical assistance and parenting workshop for one year. ...read more
This photo story was created with the stunning images of professional photographer Alfred Domínguez Peña. It illustrates the necessity of the Anjali House Family Support Program, displaying the life of Man Phale and Seng Kong, parents of Anjali House students. Our families at Anjali House are from the lowest income sector in the two communities in which we work. Many parents are under-employed or unable to work. Even with one working parent, there are normally many dependents including young children and older relatives. Our student’s families must not be left out Anjali House’s main objective is to support its 120 students in breaking the cycle of poverty through access to quality education. However, in order to establish a wholesome beneficial environment for our students to learn and develop, Anjali House must not be the only place in their lives to offer the children security and joyfulness. Our students’ homes and their families are just as much part of the equation. That is why we believe our student’s families must not be left out in the process of change. In order to have a lasting impact on their entire development, it is therefore essential to include the parents of our students within our work by providing them with medical emergency grants, educational workshops and help them with employment search. Man Phale and Seng Kong’s family is one of our 49 families we are supporting today. Learn more about Anjali House’s Family Support Program With $20/month, you will provide counselling with our social worker to one family as well as medical assistance and parenting workshop. DONATE...read more
On Valentine’s Day, our young adult students attended a charity event organized by Krousar Thmey Foundation for disadvantaged children including blind and deaf students. Community service is an essential part of the Young Adult program. Read how the young adults decided to “give back” and got inspired by others. Every year, Krousar Thmey – a foundation for disadvantaged children and with disabilities – organises a charity event for Valentine’s Day. At this event, many organisations are invited to collect donations and share a day of affection among the students. This year, the Young Adult students of Anjali House took part for the first time. They were able to donate clothes and chocolate and many of them prepared Valentine’s Cards, filled with encouraging and affectionate messages. One thing that was especially striking was the joy the Anjali House’s students had in giving back to others. Mixed with a lot of activities like dancing and different games, the students shared their Valentine’s Day with each other and all left with a big smile. Events like these are crucial, not only for building long-lasting relationships, but also to raise awareness about disabilities. Anjali House students became aware of how disadvantaged children with disabilities overcome challenges in their daily life. This knowledge is yet another important step to help our students develop into healthy, well-adjusted adults, equipped with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavours. Therefore, we hope to join in again next year for a Valentine’s day full of fun and kindness. Learn more about Anjali House’s Young Adult Program With $50/month, you will fund one year at university for one young adult. Offer them a chance to go further....read more
We believe that children need goals in their lives: to strive, to be curious, ambitious and to have a sense of their own talents and capacities. It is daring and brave to dream. The students at Anjali House are courageous like that. Through the opportunities they are supported with by us, they see that they can actually live theses lives that seem so far from them. When they grow up, they will be able to reach their full potential, maybe extending it even, and achieve their goals. See here some examples of these brave children and their beautiful goals [Click on the first image] Learn more about our Education program With $15/month, you will provide one student with a uniform, school supplies, textbooks and educational trips for one year. DONATE Photos by Lilu Herlambang ...read more
Creativity is one of the rocks Anjali House was built on. In a multitude of creative activities, Anjali House fosters the creative thinking of its 120 students. To illustrate this focus, read about how Anjali House encourages free expression of emotions through a creative writing workshop. Creativity, used both by pedagogues as well as children, is generally perceived as the basis of a multitude of beneficial skills and perspectives. At the very core, creativity entails the idea of “do it yourself”. Creativity means the power to create something, to do something anew; it means independence, self-reliance and self-responsibility. When we engage in creative activities, we are seeking out our own ways of going about them (“Do I want to paint the picture in this or that style?”) and we look for solutions (“The colours don’t look the way they should. I need to try a different kind.“). Most importantly, we learn to look at things from our own perspective, we learn to question and optimise familiar approaches because we try out our own. Aside from it’s many wonderful side effects, this is where creativity’s main significance may lie: in enabling us to go further. Especially in educational development work, creativity can thus be a tool to encourage individuals to be proactive and find methods and perspectives on their own, enabling them and their communities to develop in a way that is best for them. Creative writing workshop A recent example of how Anjali House encourages these mental skills is the creative writing workshop performed by its partner NGO Writing Through once every year. Over the course of five days in January, the students wrote poems and short stories as a group and individually, approaching the topic of “Taking Risks”. Even though the workshop is always conducted entirely in English, language fluency is a desired side effect but not a requirement. As Jess Blackledge, the assistant director of Writing Through, explains, the main goal of the workshop is to enable the students to practice conceptual and creative thinking rather than language fluency. As Ms. Blackledge highlights, conceptual thinking is at the heart of creativity. It enables us to derive ideas from ourself and not from others, to connect our thoughts to outside influences by comparing and challenging, to think in our own ways and to find our own perspectives. Hence one of the rules of the workshop formulates: “Use the back of your brain” – you have all the interesting ideas within you, you don’t need to get them from anywhere else. Free expression of emotions This might be one of the reasons why the student’s works are often deeply personal and emotional as this is really unusual in Cambodian culture. Here, emotions are barely ever openly discussed. According to Ms. Blackledge, this unusually free expression of emotions is due to the form of poetry. This type of writing offers a very free way of expression and is also something new for most of the students who first attend the workshop. As a result, it won’t come as a surprise that the presentation of their work often is almost as emotionally challenging as the work is itself: “At the end of each workshop we have something called the “Big Event” where the students stand up in front of...read more