Imagine that through your own hard work you have just had a good week. For the first time in a long while, you managed to peek your head over the poverty line – that brutally low $1.90 per day your whole family has to live on – when COVID-19 suddenly wipes out your local economy.
There is less work available to you. Financial stress creeps into your relationship, your status in the household is difficult as you can no longer bring in income. You feel your pride in all that you have managed to achieve begin to crumble under the uncaring weight of events outside your control. Worst of all, you’re scared because you don’t know how to keep your family safe from this virus. It’s not fair.
This is a critical time for the communities HHA serves. This is the scenario faced by so many of the community members living in the poorest communes in Siem Reap:
- Very few people have savings to fall back on when there is no way to earn income, and no government safety net – An estimated loss of just 30 cents US per day in income per person would double the country’s poverty rate (UN World Food Program)
- Many women and children will be impacted by increased domestic violence as financial pressures increase
- Low educational attainment in these communities means there is very limited knowledge of how to keep themselves safe with basic hygiene during COVID-19
- Poor housing and childhood malnutrition create extra risk factors for those who do contract COVID-19.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Strange as it may sound, despite all the new challenges Human and Hope Association is facing on the ground in Cambodia, and the concerns I have for the staff, students and community members that keep me awake at night… I am feeling energized.
Right now we have such an incredible opportunity to shape the future as we want to see it, and we know you are going to rise to the challenge because your past support for Human and Hope has already helped families to prepare for the new health risks and economic burdens under global pandemic conditions.
We know from global research that women are incredible agents for change in their communities. That’s why we are asking for your help to support a class of 12 women to undertake life-changing vocational training that has impacts not only on their ability to provide for their family, but also their knowledge of hygiene, nutrition and health, their status in their home and community, and even on their housing.
|In the past seven years:
· 68 women have completed the Sewing Vocational Training Program
· 37 have started their own business
· 31 are employed by commercial manufacturers
· 16 have built new homes
· In the coming months, HHA will be employing 10 seamstresses to sew 5000 fabric facemasks to help prevent COVID-19 infection for 1,000 families most at need. This will allow the women to continue to lift themselves and their families out of poverty through their employment
· Many have savings for the first time in their lives, providing extra security during economic downturn.
Your support today, no matter how small has a huge impact.
HHA’s Sewing Vocational Training program has a long waitlist. Right now, during the most difficult economic times Cambodia has faced in recent years, there are women and their families living in sub-standard housing, with a bare subsistence of income. Students in the program:
- Receive a daily stipend of food to help them feed their families while they are learning
- Participate in weekly life-skills workshops that address their most pressing needs
- Are supported through a mentoring program that encourages their confidence in goal-setting and financial independence through saving and managing the microloans that allow those who start home businesses to own their own sewing machine.
- Are supported to enrol their children in HHA’s education programs
Your support can help provide a class of 12 women with opportunities that help them create ripple effects of change in their families, their circumstances and their communities.
We have such an incredible opportunity to help women shape their futures in spite of the huge challenges COVID-19 has added to their lives.
Can you help them shape a fairer future during the most unfair of times?
To make a tax-deductible donation, you can visit: https://www.dogoodtogether.org/eofy-1726-hha/
Yours in appreciation,
Sally Hetherington OAM