Sophea is in class, learning how to make a silk bag
“Thanks Caritas that has allowed me to take the course in handicraft, and let my children stay happily with me during the course”, said a 35 year-old mother, Sourn Sophea, who originally comes from Banan district, Battambong province.

Caritas Cambodia with the support from Caritas Switzerland launched “Friendly Vocational Skill Development for Women and Young Mother with Children “FVSD” project in 2014, aiming to support vulnerable and victim women from trafficking, labor migration, domestic violence and young poor single mothers with a provision of life skill training in order to improve the quality of their lives.
The program is based in Snoeung village, about 20 km from the town of Battambong province and is currently opening five training skills, namely Tailoring, Weaving, Handicraft, Beauty Salon and Food Processing and Restaurant. Sophea is one of the 44 students attending the course 2014-2015 at the center. She was referred to the program by a member of her commune Council, responsible for women. She said she was really happy when her name was identified by the authority. With no hesitation, she decided to join the program. Before participating in the program, she sold her labor in packaging mushroom in her village and could earn between 10,000- 15,000 Riels per day. Nevertheless, it was only a temporary work. Life was not easy for a single mother, like Sophea, to feed two children when she does not have a permanent job.
Sophea describes how she used to feel before joining the program. “Earlier, I felt hopeless and everything is just dark for me. But now, all these feelings are just gone away. I have more courage in pursuing my goal and confronting the future”, Sophea said. Now , she has more friends whom she can share something with. “After I complete the course, I want to open a small handicraft shop at home”, Sophea shared her big dream. Most importantly, “I want to see my children well-educated and healthy”, she said. While training, Sophea’s son Leayheang , 5 years old and her daughter, Leakna, 2 years old are also staying in the center which allow her to continue taking care of them.
Sophea and her children are enjoying their time at FVSD center.
Asides from training and dormitory, FVSD center provide day-care for the children while mother attend the class. Von Lyheng , FVSD centre manager said “In day-care we have professional staff to take care of the children when they sleep, take shower, eat meal, milk or soy-bean, play game, toys, teach how to say words, pray, write and read alphabet in Khmer and English and sing a song etc. Students must attend the course two times a day: in the morning from 8 .00-11.30 a. m and in the afternoon from 1.30- 4 .30 p.m. “Mothers can fully participate in the course knowing that their children are taken care. Furthermore, they can stay with them during the break and night time”. Furthermore, LyHeng also shared some of the successful stories of students who completed the course and are employed. “We have 12 students are employed and 15 students afforded to open their own businesses, she said. “We are proud to seeing these women going out to work”, she said.

Vocational training does not only provide skill to disadvantages women, but also helps them in realizing that they can make change into their life and the lives of the children”. Handicraft trainer, Hay Nov said she is really happy to join with FVSD team. “I am proud of myself to be able to transfer my knowledge to students”, Nov said. For over the last 10 years, she has provided handicraft skill to hundreds of students, particularly, the disadvantaged women, and most of them are able to survive themselves and their families.
At FVSD center, five separate buildings are built for different functions; 1/ A building for administrative work and counseling. 2/ A building with 5 rooms for 5 training courses; 3/day care building for young children, 4/ conference room and cafeteria building; and 5/dormitory.


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