Girls to Grannies Village
First of its kind in Asia, Cambodian Children’s Fund are proud to announce the construction of the Girls to Grannies Village; a unique community providing safe and secure homes for 200 girls, women and grannies.
“I really want to live here very much. I can’t wait.”
Seventeen year old Kanya has been a CCF student for 12 years, and is looking forward to the big move coming November this year.
“I feel really excited,” Kanya grins as she thinks about her new home. “It’s a really nice house and we have a big area in the village with a lot of places to study. We have a big library and classrooms. It will be a great place to learn and teach the younger kids.”
To support students like Kanya, Cambodian Children’s Fund has started construction on a unique new community that will soon be home to 200 girls, women, and grannies.
This all-female community will provide a safe haven for girls, mothers and grandmothers, creating a supportive environment where they can realize their full potential. Spread over 4,000 square metres, the village will feature a library, classrooms, adult education facilities, communal gardens, a sports field, a playground and a pagoda.
Here, girls and women will be able to thrive in a supportive environment where they can realize their full potential and contribute more to their community with the influence of the grannies.
When Granny Rin, 74, recently toured the build site to see where she and her six foster children’s new home would be, her face lit up in pure delight.
It’s amazing. I feel very happy. The thing I like is the mango trees and a place to worship Buddha. When the girls are tired from studying, they can have some mango. And in the pagoda we can teach our grandchildren about Buddhism.
In an expansion of CCF’s community based care model, more than 80 girls currently living in CCF’s residential facilities will move into the Girls to Grannies village allowing them the opportunity to flourish within a supportive and holistic environment, and taking a step towards independent living.
Unfortunately, there continues to be significant difficulties for Cambodian girls in accessing education. The dropout rates for girls are much higher than boys, especially in secondary and tertiary education. In response to this CCF focuses on keeping girls in school. One in seven girls drop out of school at lower secondary and high school level as a national average (2018), compared to one in twenty girls at CCF for lower secondary and only one in fifty girls at high school level. This village will play a key role in ensuring a generation of girls get the support they need to stay in school and thrive within the classroom.
This new village is a unique opportunity for the girls and women in the local area, providing the fundamentals of safe, independent living for our female students, the foster carers and grandmothers. The greater aspirations - a holistic, female-led community that fosters educational achievements and future leaders, grounded in the strong sense of culture and society held by the grandmothers - will be proved over time.
There will be significant additional benefits to the village, such as giving older girls experience in independent living within a safe space. They will also receive a more holistic education with the influence of community values and the traditional wisdom of their new neighbours, the grannies.
Many of these girls will have once lived and worked on the notorious Steung Meanchey garbage dump, the largest in Southeast Asia at the time and one of the most dangerous and toxic environments in the world.
This new village gives these girls, who do not have the option of being integrated into kinship care, the chance to experience a stable and nurturing family environment.
“CCF creating this village for the girls is good for their safety and security. Moreover, it will help poor people in our community a lot,” says Mrs. Ros Tho, Department Chief of Social Affair and Social Welfare of Khan Mean Chey. “Plus, it is a good place for them to share knowledge or help each other for their study.”
For the village’s older residents, it represents a future that they once thought was lost for them. Many of the grannies experienced significant losses during the devastating Khmer Rouge regime, often losing all of their family. Without an education or family to support them, they had no option but to scavenge - even in their old age - to make what they could to support themselves.
Now, through the CCF granny program, they have the safety and security of a good home, food, and healthcare to live their lives in peace. With a full program of elective education, excursions, and opportunities, they regularly work with CCF students to teach them about their culture and history. In the village, they will be able to share these values and life experiences closely with the students.
The all female inter-generational Girls to Grannies Village provides all the necessary services to support the wide range of needs of the community members.
The CCF Girls to Grannies Village would not be possible without the support of our long term partner, World Housing and their donors.
CCF started a partnership with World Housing in 2013 and has built 500 homes providing a secure living environment for 2,300 people in local communities surrounding the former Steung Meanchey garbage dump.
Don McQuaid, Managing Director of World Housing, says “We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with the Cambodian Children's Fund who have proven over the years to be the best at what they do. Their commitment to social change through a holistic approach of providing housing, health and education has changed the lives of so many”.
Each of the 50 homes at the Girls to Grannies Village will be based on the World Housing model already used in CCF housing communities. These houses have the style of a traditional stilted Khmer home, with a downstairs kitchen. The Girls to Grannies Village will build slightly larger houses, with a private toilet for each family.
The aim is to create an independent community focused on sustainable living and communal responsibility for generations to come.