By contributor Diane Frost —
Rose Charities’ Access For All is a groundbreaking program that changes the lives of physically disabled young women in Cambodia. Through educational opportunities and disability awareness, young women like Chanry, a Kamchay Mea District of Prey Veng native, will reach her potential and become a role model in the community.
Access For All is changing lives through communal living as well as teaching life and career skills. Plucking uneducated young women whose physical disabilities force them to endure discrimination and granting scholarship awards.
Chanry began her climb unable to walk. Her devoted parents carried her to school.
Chanry, 23-years-old, remembers “I was very hurt when people in my village blamed me for making life difficult for my parents and called me a useless person.” She was determined to prove them wrong.
Chanry came to the attention of Rose Charities and was granted a scholarship.
Chanry is now living in the Access For All share house in Prey Veng town, funded by $1,200 donated to pay for the land on which the house was built and $5,200 from local community members and international friends to build the house, while studying accounting at the nearby Chea Sim Kamchay Mea University – which she can travel to easily in her wheelchair. She also has the most senior position in the household – she’s the Access For All Project Team Leader.
Chanry’s responsibilities include building greater community understanding of disabilites and the rights of the disabled. Towards this goal, the young women developed a questionnaire to take to people in various villages in Prey Veng. Despite the challenges of rural roads, Chanry travelled to Trabeak village in the district of Ba Phnom and spoke with multiple families.
These were not short visits! Each household wanted to know where Chanry came from, how she became disabled and what difficulties she faced. They knew little about people with disabilities, and said when they thought of people like her, they thought of seeing people on the road, asking for money. Chanry felt strong and confident when telling them about her life and about the discrimination she has suffered because of her disability.
Telling her story and talking about her goals has helped to change this small community’s views on disability, and Chanry is happy and proud of this achievement. This is just the beginning of a future in which Chanry hopes to be a project manager, working to improve access for people with disabilities in Cambodia, or working for an NGO helping to reduce discrimination.
It is just the beginning of a future in which Chanry hopes to be a project manager, working to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in Cambodia, or working for an NGO helping to reduce discrimination.
Community donations, such as $5,724 for High School Education sponsorship for 9 of the young women to attend Ang Doung High School and $8,789 for University Education sponsorship for 11 of the young women – Chea Sim University of Kamchey Mear makes for life changing opportunities for young women living in poverty.
Other equipment for Access for All was provided by Australian Telstra/NAB ‘Helping Hands’ program, which donated $2,000 for laptop computers.
These donations have helped get this amazing projects off the ground. The generous DIAF contribution is $20,000 for 12 months which has been amazing for establishing this project. However that is about to expire. We are in need of funds to support the running costs of this amazing project. Please donate to help us keep this project going.