Shine Career School is a phenomenally successful educational initiative run by Hope for Justice in Cambodia, endorsed and approved by the country’s Ministry of Education. The school offers high quality educational standards and trauma-informed holistic care for survivors of sex trafficking.
On top of the 300 academic classes a month, other important aspects of Shine’s work are enrichment activities such as fitness, yoga and dance, vocational training, careers advice, and field trips.
One such trip has just taken place. The students and staff from Shine journeyed south from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, to Takeo province, about 50 miles (80km) away.
The girls visited Borey School, where the children live and study in poverty, with little in the way of books or stationery, forced to use broken equipment and learn at poor quality desks.
One of the Shine students, Rathna*, said: “We need to fundraise to buy them the things they need, so they can have a better education and more opportunities in life.”
The girls spent two weeks fundraising and asking for money from their teachers and the staff that work at Shine and Dream Home. They needed to prepare an explanation of why they were fundraising, what for and how it would help, and the staff were urged to asked questions. They practised their English with the English-speaking members of staff and interns.
Amy Powell, teaching and storytelling intern at Hope for Justice Cambodia, explained: “When we arrived at the school, the teachers there welcomed us, gave a short speech explaining a little bit about the school and thanked us for our involvement. We presented them with new whiteboards and the girls went around each classroom handing out the books and stationery they had bought using the donations they had managed to collect. Our students got involved straight away and looked so proud to have the opportunity to show their kindness and generosity.”
Hope for Justice Cambodia Career and Education Director, Andrea Bailey, said: “It was an amazing experience. It gave the students the skills to advocate for others.
“We will resume our community service project by writing ‘thank you’ cards to the donors and the girls will create a presentation to give in front of staff to show how their funds impacted Borey School.”
The field trip also let the girls learn about the history and culture of Takeo province, where some of the buildings date back to the 11th century.
A local resident offered a tour, and the girls listened intently, took notes and asked questions.
Afterwards, they all spoke about how interesting it was. They also donated leftover food to some of the local people.
The trip made the girls thankful for the good-quality facilities and equipment they are blessed with at Hope for Justice. One said: “We are so grateful with what we have.”
Nourn Vanna, the Project Manager at Shine, said: “The girls love going on field trips; it’s a great opportunity to get out of their confines and see the real world.”
Article by Amy Powell and Adam Hewitt
*Survivors’ names changed for their protection