[popeye] The garment industry in Cambodia employs over 300 000 women and is a pillar of the Cambodian economy. The dramatic impacts of the Global Financial Crisis means that, today, textiles is viewed by many as a sunset industry and despite some growth in 2010, too many women are having to turn to the sex industry as their new livelihood when they lose their employment in locally and foreign owned garment factories.
Cambodia is in desperate need of diversification of their economy and it is crucial that alternative markets are created to ensure sustainable employment for the next generation of workers. This next generation is going through secondary schooling now – this schooling must be of a standard of excellence and relevance to the community context to ensure that the poorest and most disadvantaged young men and women of Cambodia have a positive and productive future.
This is where Beacon Schools comes in. Not only will this project ensure a standard of excellence in the three lower secondary schools it takes on in Kampong Cham, but it will ensure that the education provided is relevant and holistic, including life skills, careers counselling, student leadership and empowerment.
Oaktree’s partnership with Kampuchean Action for Primary Education on the Beacon Schools Initiative is an essential part of development in the Cambodian education sector – creating equitable access to quality education for those who need it most, and working towards a future where livelihoods are secure and no woman need sell herself to survive.
Written by Cambodia Project Officer, Cat Stephens
Have a look at ABC’s recent report on the Cambodian Garment Industry here!