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THROUGH OUR LENS (ENGLISH): Cambodian Women Sharing their Stories


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A Community Media Project in Partnership with PhotoForward and Women's Resource Center, Cambodia.

Through Our Lens is a media education program for women in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The TOL Media Team is learning to use photography, documentary film, surveys, and community research to record the stories of Cambodian women and girls, so we can better understand their lives and the issues that are important to them. This year, the project is enhanced through a collaboration with Map Your World--a media project of Stanford University and ITVS-- that combines new technology with community outreach.

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THROUGH OUR LENS (ENGLISH): Cambodian Women Sharing their Stories

  1. 1. fifififififii-Through Our Lens (TOL) Women's Resource Center has partnered with PhotoForward to offer media education workshops for members of the WRC community The project is enhanced through our collaboration with Map Your World--a media project of Stanford University—— that combines new technology with community outreach The Through Our Lens Media Team is learning to use photography, documentary film, surveys. and community research to record the stories of Cambodian women and girls, so we can better understand their lives and the issues that are important to them THROUGH OUR LENS 2015.. . ‘ "I leel this resource is so iinpoitant for people Sometime 1 ~ women have a personal problem they need to talk about, so ‘ they come to WRC and discuss it with the staff WRC provides training for women so they can have skills such as Q photography. learning about other women in community. and training in women's health " - Has Sreyna. TOL Media Maker and staff at EC Finance Women's Resource Center Cambodia www. wrI: cambodia. org PhotnForward New York. Cambodia. Laos www. phou: lorward. org
  2. 2. '«. .- ' ‘Z ' -“-' ' . . . . I "' GI. I s . _c L§CaLIOh in (Jar? soc. ia "Women today have more l<i‘io'. v-. rlorlgii: - than wornoii in the past. They ran study at i/ rilvo/ Isity and / eeiiii iiew to-c: li—iiology cl! l(/ compiilers Women ill the pastitist stayecl at lioiiie to take care of the cliilclreii. " - Khuon Sonesa Girls Education is the key to reducing poverty and gender-based violence around the world. Cambodia has made education a priority and 88% of Cambodian women surveyed by the Through Our Lens team agree that girls and boys should have equal access to education. However, there is still work to do, especially in rural areas of the country. in Cambodia, education was traditionally believed to be more important for boys, since girls were needed to help in the home and support the family. When girls were allowed to pursue education they would generally be expected to leave after gaining basic reading and math skills. Today. attitudes are changing and girls increasingly attend primary and secondary school. but there is still inequality in graduation rates as well as access to higher education. Women's Resource Center and PhotoForward are working to improve access to education for girls and women in Siem Reap and beyond. "ll we coiiipure i_; ii/5 ill the past ‘r‘. ’Il/ l girls iiow. J/ l/.5 iiow are l)eilei oll Ho LET. l think that eveii though a lot of Wollltili have education now there are still gi lot of WOl770ll in the COLlIl[l’ySlL'/ C’ with limited odtlcation it's a pii.7l)i'i“. -in for utoiiieii . —'iiirl i. -vc shoiiltl oiicoi/ rage vvoimiiii to get more 9<iiii; dtioii " - Mean Konthea, TOL Media Maker and Community Liaison 8. Assistant Program Manager at Journeys Within Our Community wit. inn 'l‘| F as l'
  3. 3. (1 Economic . .;~11povves-m ant “The money I earn in the morning helps me to eat ill the morning but I doiit have enough to eat in the evening. /Because I am a single mother] it's difficult because we don't have someone to help the faintly earn money " -Ngom Nan i. Over 80% of Cambodian women participate in the labor force, but they represent the majority of the nation’s poor. As in most countries, Cambodian women are paid less for the same work as men and are mostly expected to do low-skilled, low wage, and informal jobs that leave them and their children at risk. j. ‘ Economic empowerment does more than give a woman material security; it i 2; ~ 1 increases her decision-making power within her family and improves her and her w family's health and quality of life. Understanding the family's financial needs and , ‘Y. V having enough money saved to cover emergencies determines an individual’s L ' ' economic stability, regardless of her level of wealth. . _ - " - According to our informal Through Our Lens survey, less than 24% of women , , "4 we spoke to record their expenses and most have difficulty explaining how their ‘ 7 ' money is spent. WRC provides the “Riel Change” program to help Cambodian «L A women understand the resources they have and how to manage them, so they --2. “~ - can hold the purse strings — and the power — in their households and _ communities. 5 if: "/ f the hiisband works and the woman stays in the house and is -*3? dependent on him. then the woman doesn't have any options or , ; iiiclependeiice. It ilie woman has good SKI/ /S and a good jOL) she will be j ' more confident and her husband wont look down at her. " iii ‘ g H -Sarout An, TOL Media Maker and ' _ W’. : ' ProjectAssistant for PhotoForward V -I. tifiifiignnfirpdmnunvnisainfu ‘. i ’ . Do you record your "- ' expenses’ r. l . s- . . K , _ _ i it i _ _, .4. ; ‘ Hi I . -.. . We-. .-. ... ... /or "£5. , . '. ""'4J. L;. ."i. l". '?‘. ... ‘;. “.l. '.. ":i; ‘?3.'. lJ. l'. ‘u '5.l. i.1.’: l1l. 'fl_ . :-‘uLmi: ~i. _=ii. ii_-. ._’-. _-L. L~. .-. i: "tL. l$. .l‘ ~ —*-_‘~. .i_= i: -‘t~. «.t“t-u-. .. °i_uih. Li, »,ii. «.i . ‘-‘t-. .eJJ. t:t. z‘-Li'- -"cu--. n.; r§7i
  4. 4. It’ ,7 Celeb ‘acting ; ‘°osi'i; ive Parenting "The money we get each month to spend for the family is not always enough. I have to stay at home and take care of the children. and my husband works a lot. It's difficult to have time to take care of my family. " -Chanra Like parents from every part of the world, Cambodians love their children and want them to be happy, successful adults. Many parents have Ieamed from their elders that children need a firm hand and strict rules and that hitting a child is the most effective way to demonstrate authority. There is often a fear that showing affection to a child or refraining from physical forms of discipline will encourage disrespect and bad behavior. in 1992. Cambodia approved the international Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), confirming that the govemment would “do all they can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment by their parents or anyone else who looks after them. " Despite this, child abuse continues to be a problem across the country. WRC recognizes that becoming a parent is easy but becoming a good parent is a demanding, but rewarding, challenge. It is especially difficult when parents do not have positive examples or tools for parenting without violence. WRC helps parents develop the skills to manage their anger and stress and leam how to engage with their children in a way that builds caring and respectful relationships and encourages healthy development long into the future. "It is important for families to learn about parenting, and how to teach children without hitting or blaming them, When a child makes a mistake. _ iv/ ya‘ ~. ‘ Q’ parents can learn how to give them advice and teach them to behave é ‘ 1 1/11.! $1 '- better. " / /;"—' ‘ g - Lorm Narith, TOL Media Maker and ’ , J Health Education Community at CCDO l"'l| ' vii-ii. ~.u . I 'Inh': l- .7, . -.o-, i. . . ., .i. .. n , .
  5. 5. 4, , ,é§fi D0104 l'uiIl (uinhotlian I n V _ -r KG h the " _ tfqinfmm gum fia1;; *insin1§in}rptunzi9. ‘ ~~i9 — $957‘ ' Over 90% of the women surveyed by the Through Our Lens researchers recognize that Cambodian women and men have the equal legal rights. but the United Nations reports that Cambodia has the lowest levels of gender equity in Asia. Despite having approved international human rights treaties. such as the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Cambodia still experiences widespread inequality. Crimes such as sexual abuse and domestic violence frequently go uninvestigated and unpunished. Victims are often reluctant to report instances of gender-based discrimination and violence due to a lack of resources. limited information about their rights, and fear of social shame and further violence. To improve gender equality for women in Cambodia, WRC educates communities through workshops that explain individual legal rights and provides counseling and referral services to women and girls in need. Research shows that when women and men are aware of their legal rights, gender-based violence is reduced and the health and wellbeing of families and communities is improved.
  6. 6. Despite efforts to increase the legal registration of married couples, “informal” or "traditional" marriage is still common in Cambodia. in fact, 57% of the women surveyed by the Through Our Lens team said that they were in an "informal" or unregistered marriage while only 7% had legally registered their marriage with the govemment. For many couples. an informal marriage is appealing because it requires less money. less time, and makes the process of separation and divorce easier, especially for men. Many couples are also confused by the legal procedure and fail to complete the registration process. Most Cambodian women are unaware that they are much more vulnerable to abuse and discrimination in informal marriages and have fewer rights and protections for themselves and their children. A woman in a legal marriage can: - Claim equal ownership of marital property - Protect the rights and financial support of her children - Sue for divorce and damages if abused, raped, or abandoned by her husband Women's Resource Center helps wives and husbands understand the benefits of legally registering their marriages and provides workshops, resources. and guidance for women who are facing legal difficulties within their families and relationships. Z&C¢lCII ' ‘i -l I I “ 'nLannv>, :ingmui. .-m , . _ , tuntrnvmuytzugnnnng J - mrvw-*1 nay-an hlvohmilulvubrrv-ll ca--migiinw . . F. ‘ . Wmnm
  7. 7. Cambodian Women and Health "It's very difficult because sometimes there is no food for the children. Because I work so many hours. I don't always have time to care for my family " - Broy Cambodian women are high-risk for three major health issues: infectious diseases, mental and emotional health. and reproductive health. But. there are few opportunities for women to learn about disease prevention and mental health couseling. especially in rural areas. As Savun Ty from Women's Resource Center says. ‘the biggest barrier to good health for women in Cambodia is a lack of information. " Disease Infectious diseases are among the main cause of sickness and death in Cambodia. including STls like HlVlAlDS. mosquito-bom diseases like Malaria and Dengue Fever. and diseases and diarrhea from poor sanitation and hygiene. WRC provides workshops and resources including strategies to improve personal hygiene. understand food and water safety. and protect against catching and passing on diseases. Counseling and Mental Health Cambodia has a high suicide rate and suffers from widespread mental illness and substance abuse due to historical trauma, poverty, and extensive violence against women. Although the Cambodian government has declared mental health as a priority. this issue is still misunderstood and there is a lack of access to and information about the benefits of emotional care. WRC helps communities understand the importance of mental and emotional health and provides workshops and drop-in services for adults and children, so they can receive the in information and support they need and deserve. “I am married and have one child. and I work with women in the villages. Sometimes it is difficult to explain about maternal health. childcare, and parenting. I am proud to share important information about newborn nutrition. going to the doctor during pregnancy, and where to get medical ‘ help in their village and commune. " -Vern Sarun, TOL Media Maker and 1‘ ‘ , Health Education Community at CCDO " Women‘: Resource Center Cambodia www wrccamboma org PhotoForward New York. Cambodia, Laos www pholoforward org
  8. 8. Maternal Health &. Family Planning Sarun (TOL Researcher): “You have seven children, did you deliver them in the hospital or at home? " Sor Ro: ’'I delivered them all at liorne. ..When I had the baby. it was hard to find a hospital. but now ; women can deliver at the hospital. " Although 83% of the Cambodian women surveyed by the Through Our Lens team said that they knew about contraception methods, more than a third stated that they never talk to anyone about sex or women's health. Matemal health has improved in Cambodia but women still bear the added risks associated with reproductive health and childbirth. In 2010 more than 790 women died from childbirth and as of 2012 more than 6.600 newborns died each year. According to a national survey. 75% of all women know at least one traditional method of family planning. However, many women and girls do not know how to access or use family planning methods properly or believe that their husbands have the right to decide when and if they have children. Nearly a quarter of Cambodian women have had one or more abortions despite the fact that almost 80% of Cambodian women still believe that abortion is illegal. The stigma and lack of information surrounding abortion contributes to dangerous practices. Over 25% of all maternal deaths in Cambodia are believed to be the result of unsafe abortions. WRC provides comprehensive reproductive health workshops. counseling and referral services to women and men and youth to ensure that everyone understands the needs of the female body and women and girls know their rights and options. informed women are able to make safe choices and receive support and care. —]7’’2:sr‘ "/ want Cambodian women to leam about their health and hygiene and how to / ‘ " ‘ . tell their stories through photographs and interviews. This project helps us to i 1'! ‘ . . w, ,,m. ,o_mM, . learn and teach about women's life. I would like the people in the countryside 7 ‘ ’. 9" . lrficosr ii to leam what I have learned so they can be healthier and more informed. " tr ‘ . ‘ _ , ;,. ,A _. .F‘. ,‘_, , . _ Rang Samnang, TOL Media Maker and Parent ’. 'i-. iii. :iI Iii‘-A : -llllvuil. T~‘l’~t"1-llllllrilll . ‘i‘.4'i'I. ll'I'1ill‘Ii-iI”'l‘il‘ ‘xi: -i--. i=-uni = .-". ‘tr. . "1-: ¢ii. bi. iut-i-. -ii . ..I '-- vi. -.ii-iii-iI-it-. -'u. .ii--i-in
  9. 9. Forward Nww ohoiciloi-«act an it : Womerfs Resource Center Cambodia www wrccambodiaorg MEET THE TEAM rgtjmtjufifiejfigifitfifigu aigimregieruiruasmslrfi (wnc) Women's Resource Center is a drop-in center that provides women and girls in Cambodia with information. emotional support. advocacy. referrals and informal educational workshops on women's health, parenting, women's rights and financial literacy. WRC is a local organization that was planned and developed by women based in Siem Reap. Cambodia. Website: www. wrccambodia. org agmi tgijtijifi (PhotoForward) Founded in 2005, PhotoForward is an international media arts program that engages communities in documenting their lives from their own perspectives. PhotoForward collaborates with local organizations to develop sustainable and inspiring programs that integrate photography. community research, and documentary film. Over the last decade. we have provided hundreds of youth and adult learners with the opportunity to explore their cultures. express their experiences. and raise their voices. Website: www. photoforward. org Hgmrfiiutifim - Map Your World A multi-platform project that puts the power of new technologies into the hands of communities. enabling them to map. track. and improve the health and well—being of their region — and then share their stories of change with each other and with the world. Website: www. mapyourwor| PhotoForward New York, Cambodia. Laos www. photoforward. org