Throughout the year 2017, we are proud to witness the ongoing progress made by our Cambodian students who have demonstrated their enthusiasm and resilience as they take steps to breaking free of the poverty cycle. In closing this year, Human and Hope Association welcomed 12 bright students who have joined our Sewing Program. Five students have successfully completed our Sewing Program, with three women successfully securing jobs as seamstresses in their home towns, and two continuing to work as seamstresses from home. We also saw six of our students graduate from our beginner sewing classes.
Our beginner and advanced programs continue to expand, and we have also recruited students from additional communes who are eager to make a living from our Sewing Program. In parallel, we have also had a small number of students who have discontinued with the program. One of our students, for example, has recently taken a well-deserved pause in their studies as they are currently expecting a child, and intend to return once their child is born.
In other instances, we are reminded by the setbacks experienced by students who travel great distances to attend our program. Another of our students, for example, had recently moved farther away and was unable to travel from his district. By noting that some of our dedicated students are made to travel extensive distances, we provide them with a petrol allowance to facilitate in the costs, recognising that some would be unable to attend class otherwise.
In addition, we hold monthly refresher workshops six times a year for former graduates. This allows us to touch base with former students who have completed the program and gives us the opportunity to review any lessons with them if requested.
This year, we also initiated a new Sewing Collaboration program, which assists our alumni who have set up a business from home, on ways they can continue making a profit, whilst managing their day-to-day life. This program has generated interest amongst the community, with the addition of six new seamstresses who have since joined this program.
Our Microfinance Loan has been running smoothly, with most of our students undertaking regular repayments upon earning a stable income. Eight students have successfully paid off their loans entirely, while 10 students continue to make monthly repayments. We have nine new students who have also taken out a Microfinance Loan to purchase a sewing machine, and who expect to start paying off these loans after six months.
Our students are thrilled to have these machines on-hand, as it provides them with the invaluable opportunity to practice their skills at home, which is beyond empowering. Not only does this open up opportunities to earn an income through sewing or mending clothes for the community, it also provides them with the opportunity of having a starting income of $3USD to $10USD per month.
In this report, we have outlined the ongoing, personal stories of our students who have benefited from our Sewing Program.
Saney has set up a beautiful shop at her newly completed house. Her business is now even better as she has established a regular network of customers, particularly to make school uniforms for. She has also joined our new Sewing Collaboration where we she continues to earn an income making staff uniform and other products. Earning approximately $5 per day, she has finished repaying her four-month loan ahead of time.
Bopha is a hardworking company employee, whose manager constantly admires the work she produces. For this, she will also be receiving a salary increase. While does not use her sewing machine often, she still puts it to good use in her free time, using her skills and kindness to fix and sew clothes for her relatives and villagers. She has successfully finished repaying her loan with us.
Mom finished paying off her loan in early 2018. Busy caring for her baby, she does not use her sewing machine often, and mends and sews clothes for her villagers when she can. While she does not earn much money, she intends to return to work once her child is older. Her children are currently studying English and Khmer with us, and she intends to do the same for her newborn when they are older.
Phalla, our morning sewing teacher, is working hard on advancing her career. She continues to work on her professional-development by learning new skills. Apart from working with us, she also sews clothes for her villagers and attends English and computer classes every day. She is able to earn around $7 per day from her business and she plans to set up a shop in front of her house to increase her business. She has successfully finished repaying her loan with us.
Chamrong has worked as our afternoon sewing teacher for almost three years. She also balances her time working diligently as our seamstress and making products for us. She also sews clothes for her villagers, which earns her around $45USD a month in addition to her teacher’s salary. Her children are still studying in our English Program and her youngest son has just begun studying in our Preschool Program. She has repaid her loan with us.
Sangorb has been working as a seamstress with us for a year. With a hemming machine on-hand, she is able to complete her work with ease. She previously made products for us but has recently stopped due to other work commitments. She continues to sew clothes for her villagers and can earn $80USD to $120USD per month. She has built a new house. Her daughter is also studying in our Khmer Program.
Sampheas is a hard-working woman which reflects in her work. She sews clothes for her villagers and also makes products for us. With opportunities to earn around $120USD per month, she is now able to financially support her family.
She continues to attend our English classes on Sunday while her children are studying in our English Program.
Chanty is happily working at a company in town as a seamstress. Her salary has increased to $145USD per month which she uses to support her family. In her free time, she constantly uses her sewing machine to mend and sew clothes for her villagers. She has repaid all of her loans with us.
Solin is one of our recently graduated students. She has since been hired as a seamstress by a company located in town. While it took some time to adjust to her new work environment, she now thoroughly enjoys her work, earning a salary of $130USD. She often uses her sewing machine in her free time for both herself and her relatives.
After graduating from our Sewing Program, Chenda set up a shop at her home. She uses her sewing machine every day to generously sew clothes for both her villagers, as well as for us. She is now confident in her ability to make the products and clothes for her varying customers and earns around $80USD per month.