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 Soumahu