The issue in Cambodia
Labor force has not completed primary school
of teachers were killed by the Khmer Rouge
of Cambodian first-time job seekers are lack of basic competencies.
According to the Cambodian Socio-Economic Survey (CSES) in 2012 49% of the labor force (aged 15-64) had no, or had not completed primary schooling and only 23.3% had completed lower secondary education. It is inevitable that a large share of the Cambodian workforce is severely under-educated and that this problem will continue for decades to come. People have limited resources and low incentives to invest in and complete their education.
Furthermore, even when people have access to traditional education, they often lack the life skills to sustain their position in the job market. To understand this issue we have to look at the history of Cambodia. From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge perpetrated one of the greatest genocides of the 20th century It is estimated that 1.5 to 3 million people died during the genocide and nearly 80% of the country’s teachers were killed, leading to an insufficient middle and old-age population and low quality education in Cambodia.
Young women in rural areas are often left behind.
Due to family situations, young women and girls often have to drop out of school and go to work much earlier than those in urban areas. According to the UNESCO, in 2012 94% of out-of-school children were female.This leads to not only a lack of literacy skills, but also a shortage of basic life skills, such as; low self-confidence, poor problem-solving skills and even poor interpersonal skills. This prevents vulnerable women from obtaining and sustaining employment.
Encouraging youth to go to school and improving the quality of education here are the best ways to increase human capital, but unfortunately, the cost of education to a family is still too high. Although there are no school fees, parents still have to find the money for uniforms and school equipment, added to this many feel that they are losing essential family income as the child cannot go out to work during school hours. Consequently, balancing out education and financial burdens have become one of our top initiatives. We first focus on disadvantaged women, not only providing them with job opportunities, but also with a series of life skills training to help them progress to the next stage of their careers.
Life skills are vitally important
When the majority of a population are suffering from financial insecurity and have low incentives for education, it is extremely difficult for a country to develop. In order to ensure progress, we have to provide both jobs and training for them at the same time. When its citizens have jobs and access to education, the country will be able to raise its human capital and gradually progress.
However, Cambodia has yet to develop any form of life skills training.There is no definition of life skills training, no ongoing practice of it, no Training of Trainers (ToT), and there are no Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).Though some organizations and companies offer vocational training, very few think of helping their employees develop more practical life skills, such as communication skills, character building, and career counseling, etc. People agree that life skills (soft skills) are vitally important, but few people can implement the necessary training in this country.
on-the-ground research and as well as a factory in Cambodia.
of life skills training workshops have been developed and used
who have been well-trained by Japan
Our relationship with locals
Through working on the ground in Cambodia for over 10 years, we have gained the trust of the village and other local organizations. In addition, our organization entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in 2016 and with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training in 2017. We dedicate ourselves to community development work through education.
When we established our Community Factory in 2008, we had only 14 employees. The factory was very small, made of bamboo and palm leaves and had only a few desks and sewing machines. Sales reached only $500 per month due to low productivity. One of our biggest challenges was encouraging the women to stay employed at our factory. Some women would leave to look for jobs with higher salaries, but most of them drifted from job to job and were not able to earn a sustainable income.
Since then, we have started providing different kinds of training, such as basic literacy, financial management, nutrition courses and life skills training. At the same time, we have improved the quality of our products, manufacturing process and facilities. In 2011, we opened our first shop and in 2012 opened another. In 2016, we developed our new fashion brand "SUSU".
By incorporating training initiatives, our sales total in one month in 2006 can now be achieved in a single day.
Our revenue goes to life skills training and empowerment opportunities, which provides our producers with a sustainable salary as a means to support themselves and their families.
Since March 2018, we are independent of the headquarters in Japan and launched our new organization and new brand ‘SALASUSU'.
We cooperated with Japan Consulting Company to train our life skills trainers. Due to our trainers' concerted effort, the women working in our community factory can achieve a significant increase in life skills development in only 6 months. We see many positive behavioral changes in our producers after our training programs.
The history of our community factory
Our life skills training development
We have developed an economically and socially sustainable solution to prepare young women in Cambodia to embark on life's journey.
We passionately believe that our cutting-edge research, knowledge, and evidence are crucial in shaping the changes needed for our broader vision to be realized. Our efforts support women, society, and institutions to navigate the challenges ahead.