Currently in Phnom Penh, I work for two organizations. One is called Precious Women and the other is Kone Kmeng. Precious Women is led by my host mom while Kone Kmeng is run by my host dad.
Precious Women is a local organization that aims to reach out to the girls who work in the sex industry (beer gardens, Karaoke bars, brothels etc). Their main mission is to restore beauty, value, and worth. They go out to the beer gardens and karaoke bars every week and outreach to the night life. They provide counseling, shelter, and various resources to start a new life.
Kone Kmeng tries to fix the problem before it happens. Kone means child in Kmai.. Their main target is children. To help them before the problem arise. One of the main reasons people in poverty cannot abscond their situation is the lack of education… actually.. more like the lack of opportunity for education. Teachers in Cambodia get paid as little as 40 dollars a month. Since it is not enough to pay for all the expenses, they ask their students to bring money. The more you can support, the more attention and better grades you’ll get. So if families cannot afford to pay the teachers, they don’t bother to go to school. Parents know it will be a waste of time since their child will not get the grades or the attention needed. Kone Kmeng works with churches so that they can provide local areas with an informal school.
For the past two weeks, I’ve followed Lida and Phany (the directors and my host parents) everywhere. I’ve gotten to know some of the staff really well and have seen the work that goes into running a NGO. My work with Kone Kmeng and Precious Women have been teaching dance, yoga, and putting together a documentary. I teach creative movement at one of the project “informal” schools.. The children cling on to every limb and they eagerly wait for me every day. At Precious Women, I have been teaching dance to women who have left to the sex industry and are seeking a new life style. Every time the girls see me, they always want to show me the dance that I previously taught them. The heart, the love, and beauty found in Cambodia is indescribable.