Change lives and lead Cambodian women to a brighter future

Posted August 23, 2010 from Cambodia

Strey Khmer was founded by Member of Parliament Mu Sochua in 1998. Through much of her work with women's rights, including her former position as head of the Ministry of Women's affairs, Mu Sochua realized the need for a safe place for women to work together to find concrete solutions and to take effective actions to address gender-based poverty and violence. Strey Khmer was first formed by a group of women with the vision to promote the integration of all Cambodian women. Their objective has been to harness their potential through training in new skills and by giving them the necessary infrastructure for expressing their concerns within their communities.

Strey Khmer’s mission is to provide material, educational, and logistical support to women who face barriers to the full realization of their basic human rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to health, and the right to security of the person. Strey Khmer encourages women's role and voice in the reconstruction of Cambodia, especially by building women’s networks to support female leaders in each community to represent and advocate for the needs of the society as a whole.

Strey Khmer now oversees three additional projects: Meakea Strey, Grassroots Women for Change, and DEVI House.

Meakea Strey works with small groups of women weavers and market vendors, as well as women from minority groups, to provide them with business skills and credit. The project also works with women with disabilities to link them with policy makers and legislators in order to make laws and policies sensitive to their needs.

Grassroots Women for Change was founded by Cambodian female politicians to build a movement of women in local and national politics. The organization has been successful in increasing the number of elected women commune counselors and to give grassroots women a political voice and representation, and this by sensitizing women on the need to link women’s lives to policies. It uses transformative leadership as its model for change. Most recently, Grassroots Women for Change has started “Women’s Voices, Women’s Choices”, a radio program that discusses topics most important to Cambodian women, both from rural provinces, and the capital.

DEVI House or DEVI Micro-Business for Women, is a micro-franchise organization promoting food, agricultural products, and handmade crafts made by women farmers and textile workers in Kampot Province. It focuses on employing and training female workers. The business model consists of two branches, set up in the city of Phnom Penh, with high marketing opportunities, but with the prospect of expanding to other cities and provinces including Kampot and Battambang. The micro-franchise organization helps Cambodian women setting up their own food cart businesses, mainly in markets around the city. The second branch of the DEVI Micro-Business focuses on distributing all Kampot food and textile products to different channels, including cafés, restaurants, supermarkets, and petrol stations. Additionally, the food cart and direct sale businesses are the perfect way to help women out of poverty, since they require few skills and very limited capital. Moreover, they can be scaled up quickly.

Your donations will be used to support our programs and offer the women of Cambodia hope for the future. All of our donations go through Strey Khmer and can be made through our website by clicking here.

© Photos by Megan Clavier

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