Frustrations of dealing with the community
I don’t often visit the community, I leave that to our local, qualified staff. However, a couple of weeks ago I had to pay one of our seamstresses her salary and at the same time we had to ask her about her friend who didn’t show up to an interview for our sewing program, so I went along with our Education and Community Manager, Chhalin.
After paying a visit to her, we drove around trying to find her friends house. We found the right house on the second turn, so I would say it was pretty successful.
When we got there, I waited outside while Chhalin went inside to talk to the lady. He came back out a few minutes later. “She can’t study. Her husband won’t let her,” he told me.
The next week, six sewing students began learning in our beginner class. One student, aged 18, dropped out after three days. Despite really wanting to study, she had to stop because her 18 year old husband wouldn’t let her. The villagers and her husbands family told her husband that his wife should not study as there was no benefit. “Study and no benefit. Work and have money.”.
This is an issue we deal with SO much in Cambodia (and other developing countries, I am sure). The majority of the country is very uneducated, and they don’t see the benefit of taking some time to learn a skill so that in the future they can have a better paying job and support their families.
Sometimes I wonder if things will ever change.