Young Women Begin Their Careers

After several years of hard work, nineteen young women completed the vocational and leadership training programs at Cambodian Children’s Fund. To mark the occasion, a graduation ceremony complete with caps and gowns was organized in their honor.

For CCF founder Scott Neeson, the graduation ceremony was a bittersweet moment, because although they’ll stay in touch, they’re entering the “real world” and beginning their careers.

“The tinge of sadness I feel is balanced by how proud I am of you,” Neeson said. “You’ve succeeded my wildest dreams of what you could have accomplished.”

The girls came to CCF years ago, what they all share in common is a tough childhood steeped in poverty. CCF aims to get every child through school and into university, but the reality is that this isn’t possible if students missed an extreme amount of school. These girls still deserved a chance, so the apprenticeship and leadership programs were designed to teach practical skills and a well-rounded education of things they missed by not attending school. Building self-esteem and confidence is also a priority. If you saw these girls at the graduation ceremony, you’d know that the program succeeded completely.

Take Srey Ning, for example. She grew up impoverished on a rural farm and tended to animals instead of going to school.

“Now, I can speak English. More importantly, I realized all the things I could do in the future,” she told her colleagues.

The women in the apprenticeship program choose their area of study and can focus on:

  • Child care
  • Administrative skills
  • Make up and hair
  • Garment design and tailoring

The women in the leadership program lead essential community service projects, developing organizational and management skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. At the ceremony, their computer teacher offered sage advice to the graduates.

“Look forward and move forward no matter how difficult your struggles are,” he said.


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