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.
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
At Anjali House, volunteers are essential to help us achieve our mission which is to help our students develop into healthy, well-adjusted young adults, equipped with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavours. Together, we share the same values and goals. You want to know how? Let’s hear what our students have to say. In order to improve the lives of underprivileged children, young adults and their families on a long-term basis, Anjali House is strongly supported by project based, administrative, communications, fundraising and classroom volunteers. During their work here, the fundraising volunteers implement strategies with the aim to increase the organisation’s visibility online. Volunteers from all over the world also come to the school to support our Khmer teachers and assist them with their English classes through the organisation of workshops. Without our project based volunteers, such as the helpers in our organic garden, an increasing amount of nutritional ingredients for the daily meals would be missing and the children wouldn’t have the chance to learn to grow fruits and vegetables. Others help with building new showers and bathrooms to ensure the children’s basic care. Along with our students, we want to celebrate all our past and current volunteers who make Anjali House what it is today: a safe and happy environment where children can grow, learn, play and make friends. If you want to volunteer, please visit our page to know more...read more
The United Nations has long installed the 25th of November as the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”. In Cambodia, as in many other countries, still lingers a powerful idea of gender roles – what women or men should or should not do, what their characteristics are and what their positions and jobs should contain. These ideas, often in combination with other issues such as lack of education, drug abuse or general mental issues, are many times the root cause of various forms of violence against females as they are often perceived as less valuable or capable. The students at Anjali House, like so many other children, have vast experiences with many forms of domestic violence and they are at risk of reproducing these structures if they cannot break the cycle. This is why Anjali House puts a special focus on educating its students on such social issues present in their community. Our teenagers talked about their personal experiences. We took the 25th of November as an occasion to organize a workshop for our young adults in association with “Women’s Resource Center” (WRC), a Siem Reap based NGO. This organization aims to help Cambodian women with personal consultations and workshops covering health issues, parenting strategies, positive discipline, finance managing, gender roles and of course, domestic violence. An educator from the WRC came over on the 24th of November to conduct this workshop, discussing with our young adults’ students what domestic violence is, how it can be caused and helped. Most importantly, the teenagers got to talk about their personal experiences and they were so surprisingly ready. We asked them why learning about domestic violence is important and how they will use the information they received in their everyday life: “I learned about how to reduce and prevent domestic violence. I think this workshop was important because now I know how to speak to offenders when violence happens.” “Now, I feel I am prepared to talk with someone who is a victim of domestic violence and help. I also feel more comfortable to share my problems with friends for example (…)” “It was important because when violence happens on me or on one of my family member, I know how to react.” Note: All young adults wanted to remain...read more
Pheakdey is a seventeen-year-old twelfth grade student and he is currently studying at Anjali House. His mother is a homemaker and his father is a Tuk Tuk driver. With four siblings, Pheakdey’s family cannot afford to think past basic survival. As a consequence, Pheakdey could not follow basic hygiene principles. Before being enrolled at Anjali House, he had never brushed his teeth and was taking a shower only once a week, most of the time without soap and shampoo. “I didn’t know how to take care of myself before I came to Anjali House. Here, I learned how to brush my teeth and clean my body.” explains Pheakdey.Pheakdey did not suffer from any major diseases when he joined the NGO but could report he had many skin infections in the past. Vuthy is also seventeen years old and his mother is a homemaker. His father is selling handmade bedding items in the rural areas of Siem Reap. Vuthy and his sister used to sell flowers at night in the city center of Siem Reap. After long hours of work, he would often forget to shower and never brushed his teeth. Basic survival was a challenge. During his time working in the street, he never ate breakfast. In addition, the daily food he consumed lacked the necessary nutrients to allow his body to build up his immune system and Vuthy reported that before joining Anjali House, he fell sick and tired a lot of times. “I used to be sick because of the food we ate at home. Sometimes the fish was not clean or fresh enough and I had terrible stomach aches. Today, I enjoy eating breakfast and lunch at Anjali House. I like the taste of the food and I don’t have diarrhea anymore” reports Vuthy. Why access to basic care is crucial for learning. “The stories of Pheakdey and Vuthy illustrate well many of the health problems affecting underprivileged Cambodian children associated with insufficient basic hygiene, poor diet and unclean drinking water. Through years of activities working with children, we could observe that not only is nutrition important for physical health but also for the mental health of children. Without vital nutrition, our students cannot maintain the adequate energy levels, concentration and enthusiasm for learning, which we know they all possess,” explains Simon Ke, Director at Anjali House. She adds: “At Anjali House, personal hygiene is crucial. We want our students to be healthy. It is important they understand how basic hygiene impacts their health and school life.” Both Pheakdey and Vuthy’s struggles came to end when they were enrolled at Anjali House. As with all of the students, both are now provided with two nutritious meals per day including rice, proteins and vegetables. They also bathe every day at the center and have access to basic hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and tubes of toothpaste. More importantly, all students are educated on how and when to properly use these items through basic hygiene workshops which our social worker runs several times a year. Pheakdey, Vuthy and all our students also benefit from health check-ups twice a year at a local hospital. “I now understand the benefits of basic hygiene principles. I take a daily shower at the center and I also can wash my clothes...read more
During the ten years that Anjali House has operated, one success story stands out as proof that with access to quality education, the right guidance and determination, anyone can achieve his or her goals. The story is about a former student, Roun, who has reached his dream of becoming a professional photographer. Roun grew up in a rural part of Cambodia in a poor family. His parents are farmers and have 7 children. None of his siblings have graduated from school. In Roun’s hometown, the education level is quite low. The teachers are also farmers and instead of working at school, they need to work in the rice fields in order to afford a living. Roun’s grandfather wanted him to have a better future, so Roun moved with his him to Siem Reap when he was thirteen years old. Both were living in a pagoda. Sadly, soon after they arrived, Roun’s grandfather died. A “nanny” from the pagoda decided to take care of Roun and found Anjali House. This provided him with an opportunity to have a better education, and access to nutritious food and sanitation. For a few years while studying at Anjali House, Roun attended the yearly photography workshops organized by the Angkor Photo Festival. This is where he found his passion for photography and has never let it go. Last year, Roun had an opportunity to attend a professional photography workshop and develop his skills even further. Now, Roun is a professional tutor during the photography workshops at Anjali House and is working as a professional photographer in Siem Reap. “I am thrilled to be able to share my knowledge with the students at Anjali House who come from the same background as me. Anjali House is a place where dreams can come true. I am a living example” says Roun. Watch the video about Roun’s story and his journey towards becoming a professional photographer and living his dream. Click here to learn more about our Education...read more