Project Cambodia 2013

 

Inspire And Empower Physically Disabled Youths Through Education and Vocational Training

PROJECT LEADERS:

  • Supanat Kamtue (skamtue@mit.edu)
  • Ranjini Menon (anjumnn7@gmail.com)

WHERE: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

WHEN: August 11th – 25th 2013

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Project Cambodia 2013 (PC 2013) is focused on inspiring and empowering the youths with disabilities through education and vocational training. First, the education component of the project will focus on English teaching. As English is one of the most widely spoken languages and major medium of education and communication, teaching English to the youths with disabilities can help build their confidence as well as increase their access to opportunities. Second, we aim to respond to their needs for skill building through a variety of programs ranging from vocational training to career fair with local companies’ participation.

As sustainability is crucial to the project’s success, we will be garnering support from local high school students. The project will also impart important leadership skills to the local high school students. This extensive training will equip them with the necessary skills to carry this project into the future. Finally, we are seeking to continue our partnership with the local partners from our past project and the local SEALNet chapter that has been established to ensure the sustainability of our efforts.

COMMUNITY CHALLENGE

The history of conflict and the resulting lack of healthcare in Cambodia have left a large number of people with various types of disability. Today, with a population close to 15 million, there are approximately 170,000 Cambodians living with disabilities. An estimated 21% of these people are children. Disability is integrally linked with poverty; in Cambodia, individuals with disabilities remain very dependent on their immediate families and the community in which they are brought up to earn a living. Unfortunately, they often face discrimination and misunderstanding from the very community that they depend on. As a result, both adults and children with disabilities are not regarded, nor do they have the opportunities or the confidence to become fully contributing members of the community. Without a proper support system being established and implemented, individuals with disabilities will continue to be socially and economically marginalized.

Project Cambodia 2013 aims to actively engage a local non-government organization (NGO) named Yodifee to provide support and help develop useful life skills that will enable youth with disabilities to become more independent. Through the existing SEALNet Cambodia Club, we will continue our collaboration with the local high school students to provide guidance and support to youth with disabilities.

OBJECTIVES

  • To provide support and impart useful life skills that will allow youths with disabilities to become more independent
  • To equip youths with disabilities with a basic understanding of the English language that will allow them to access more opportunities in the future
  • To instill leadership qualities in the local high school students and to inspire them to become future leaders
  • To empower local high school students to carry out certain aspects of the project’s service component such as English teaching. This way, the sustainability of the project is ensured as the students will be able to continue teaching the youths with disabilites and providing support after the project concludes.

APPROACH

(I)              Outreach component – English teaching and vocational training

There are two approaches we are planning for teaching English.
The first approach is to link English classes to the vocational training. First, we would be assisting the youths to choose a certain skill they would want to learn like sewing or making handicrafts. As they are expected to assume ownership of the whole process, this will be their first step toward becoming more independent. Specifically, for grade 7 and 8, the students will be instructed to describe what they have created using English. For grade 9 to 12, they will additionally be required to present to their mentors what they have created. Through this method, we would be incorporating conversational English training with vocational skills building.

The second approach is to teach English through fun, engaging activities such as site visits to companies in which the youths are encouraged to converse with people who work there in English. We hope this will enable them to develop confidence in using the language while also learning more about the daily job responsibilities of the employees. This particular method allows us to bring to the forefront the practicality of learning English. Using language immersion,,we would like to the communicate to the students that English is both important and also not as difficult as they might think.

(II)            Leadership component

Leadership workshops will be carried out with selected local high school students. The objective of the workshop is to equip them with the necessary skills to be leaders and to be capable of carrying out projects on their own. These workshop would impart to them the importance of teamwork and help them build up organisational skills. They would also learn critical presentation skill, fundraising techniques and English teaching fundamentals.

TEAM MEMBERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

(A)   Outreach team: heavily involved in the planning process, brainstorm ideas and develop lesson plans

(B)   Leadership team: design leadership curriculum

(C)   Open to constructive criticism and be able to work effectively under time pressure and deadlines throughout the entire project

(D)   Serve as mentors to the youths with disabilities; treat them with respect and patience

QUALITIES THAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR

  • Passionate about our cause
  • Committed toward the objectives of the project
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Willing to take on responsibilities and initiatives
  • Patiently resilient