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Despite significant economic growth (+7% in 2018), Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia: 18.6% of the population struggles to survive on less than 1 Euro per day.
Thanks to various private and public initiatives to defend children’s right to education, an increasing proportion of underprivileged children are able to access basic education. However, when it comes to higher studies, only 16% of youth will have the opportunity to pursue a college education, which is the only effective way for young people from underprivileged communities to break free from poverty. Of this small number of young people who manage to access and complete tertiary education, girls make up only 12% of students.
Cambodia’s IT sector is growing and offers excellent employment opportunities. However, very few young women pursue IT career-related studies (only 6% of students in higher IT education are female). Ensuring young women’s access to higher education is one major challenge, and it is a further challenge to promote women’s access to higher IT education and training programs, which would enable young Cambodian women to take advantage of the many employment opportunities now available in the ICT sector.
The SOLUTIONS WE'RE PROPOSING
Founded in 2005, W4’s field partner, Passerelles numériques (PN), which means “Digital Bridges”, provides high-quality IT training programs for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds and helps these young women to access jobs in the tech and digital sectors. The training takes place over two years and also offers the young women career guidance and job placement support services.
Passerelles numériques’ training program adopts a holistic approach, rendering it all the more effective: in addition to the technical training, the program incorporates a range of complementary courses and soft skills training (English language lessons, communication and problem-solving skills, fostering creativity, for example) to equip the young women with the range of professional skills they need to obtain, and succeed in, formal employment.
Throughout the duration of their studies, the young women benefit from comprehensive care and support in a safe, nurturing living and study environment that is adapted to their needs.
While providing technical and soft skills training, the program also gives priority to nurturing the students’ personal development: they benefit from the daily support and guidance of qualified teachers who help the students to develop a sense of trust, responsibility and solidarity. There are workshops dedicated to topics such as developing self-confidence, sexual and reproductive rights and health, conflict resolution, etc. The students also have an opportunity to take part in a variety of extracurricular activities, such as cooking, dance and music classes, sports, games, etc.
Prior to joining the program, the majority of these students have lived very challenging lives. PN’s program offers these young women support services that are specifically tailored to their needs:
- A monthly meeting for students to discuss the specific issues they are encountering as teenage girls and/or will face as adult women;
- Access to a family-planning center and services to discuss topics relating to sexual and reproductive health;
- Psychological support and care for students who have lived through difficult or traumatic experiences (such as sexual abuse and violence) that have undermined their self-confidence.
THE IMPACT OF GIVING
After completing the 2-year training program, graduates of the program enter the employment market as responsible, mature young women equipped with the technical and soft skills they need to obtain qualified jobs in the IT sector. 98% of trainees succeed in securing a job within two months of graduating from the program. As young employees, these young women will allocate an average of 30% of their income to helping their families: thus, when you choose to support the studies of these young women, you do not simply improve their lives, but also contribute to improving the welfare of their families and the wider community.
Donate today to offer 43 young Cambodian women from disadvantaged communities the life-changing opportunity of education: you will positively impact their lives, the lives of their families, and entire communities.