AFESIP Cambodia 

Acting for Women in Distressing Situations 

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Playing the leading role in caring the residents’s health, AFESIP Siem Reap Center’s team recently took some of the residents who are supposedly subjected to eyestrain or eyesight problem to Siem Reap Provincial Hospital for eye care. This eye care project is sponsored by SEVA Foundation which has its supreme goal to work with communities worldwide to achieve health equity in Asia, Africa and Latin America to help those that are vulnerable and economically marginalized including women, children, and indigenous peoples end preventable blindness.

As the result of the eye consultation by SEVA oculists, 5 of the 23 residents who were sent for eye restoration will wear glasses within six months later, 5 of them, who get their eyes dried received eye-drop, one was found lack of vitamin A and 13 others get normal eyes. 

Although most of the residents at Somaly House is busy with their daily schooling, and other non-formal classes, they are even able to learn and practice agriculture as well. With the help of an agricultural trainer, and the encouragement of AFESIP management, the residents can understand more and more the importance of the art of planting kinds of subsidiary food supplies such as vegetables, mushrooms, fish raising…. The scope of agricultural project will be engraved in their memory, when after their departure for their home communities or wherever.

In its effort to care about residents’ health, especially focusing on mouth and tooth cares, AFESIP Cambodia has partnered with a group of 14 Cambodian voluntary dentists to provide dental care training session to its residents in Somaly House, Kampong Cham province, on 27 January 2013.

A total of 125 participants including some staff of Somaly House and 67 residents, 40 primary and secondary school children, whose villages around Somaly House and some teachers had received presentation on dental cares. It was divided into 2 sessions: presentation and surgical dental operation. The presentation gave knowledge to the audience about the future prevention, consequence of negligence and the importance of tooth and mouth cares.

Later after the presentation, to their turn, 20 residents had their teeth cured and filled and 9 others pulled. This operation is not ended yet and it will take place bi-annually. For those residents, who need further treatment we will send them to Phnom Penh.

This voluntary group of dentists will provide the same services to residents at Tom Dy center in Phnom Penh, now we need to develop schedule with them because they can not offer their services on week days, only weekend or public holidays.

Sochenda, Manager of Somaly House in the end expressed her great satisfaction for the work done to help care the residents and wished them to come regularly in order to maintain their good health, namely mouth and tooth. The suggestions were highly appreciated by the team leader.

A successful change of life !  Three reintegrated survivors are able to manage their own life successfully with the holistic care and support from AFESIP Cambodia after reintegration. One of them are employed at Phnom Penh Tomdy Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Training Center, another at the Somaly House (formerly Kompong Cham Center) since early 2012, and another one is running a sewing shop in Phnom Penh since 2008.

It is surprising to say that this early 2013, a year full of hope for our survivors to attain the family building phase. The 3 of them are getting married !!! It is AFESIP happiness and pride to honorably fulfill the life orientation and its guardianship responsibilities over their destiny. Besides, our staff are fulfilling another duty; to encourage and participate in the weddings, organized by them at different provincial locations in Cambodia.

The Cambodian people consider Phchum Ben festival (Festival of the Dead) seriously. They feel a real obligation to feed their ancestors. According to Buddhist beliefs, the lives that we live, after death, are predicated by the actions that we took when we were living. Minor infractions would be punished with small punishments, such as being an unattractive ghost or having a small mouth. Other punishments more severe could include being crippled or having no mouth at all, and we used to call them “the imps”. We don’t know where they are, but following Buddhist belief, we mostly consider they are in the hell because they could commit offences in the past life. Every year, the King of Hell releases them to come to the Earth to receive food.

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