In December, our Becky went on holiday to Cambodia. Here she is on holiday, wearing a nice hat.
As well as going over to Cambodia to catch some winter sun and try on local hats, she also paid a visit to one of the projects the innocent foundation is working on with ADD International.
ADD International are a UK based disability rights organisation who work as a major ally to the global disability movement. They partner with disability activists in Africa and Asia to help them access the tools, resources and support they need to build powerful movements for change.
ADD International is currently working to help women with disabilities in Cambodia, through providing loans and grants for farming training as well as advising on income management and talking to families and communities about disabilities to increase understanding. People with disabilities in Cambodia are often the poorest of the poor and are highly discriminated against. Disability has its own stigma present in every society but in parts of Cambodia discrimination towards disabled people can be particularly oppressive. Disabled people are often considered weak, worthless and in some cases, subhuman. Women with disabilities are marginalised and excluded to an even higher extent, discriminated against for both their gender and their impairment.
As part of this project, disability activists supported by ADD International run self-help groups where women meet weekly to share tips and get help if they need it. Becky went along to one these meetings so she could listen to any problems that might be having and they could ask her a few questions. The local chief even turned up, and asked how people with disabilities are treated in the UK. They found it inspirational that disabled people are integrated into society, and hoped that that could become a reality for Cambodia one day.
After the meeting, Becky went to meet a lady called Kem De. During the Khmer Rouge regime, Kem De was injured and, as a result, she can’t walk or dress herself. Her husband left her after she sustained her injuries, so she now lives with her elderly mother. Before the project, Kem De would lie on her wooden bed, alone for most of the day, saying she felt like a burden to her family.
Now that she’s involved in the farming project, her mother does the physical farming much closer to home, with Kem De directing her and looking after their finances. She is now on the third cycle of pig rearing and has more money than she did. She’s also been made a role model for the project within her community, meaning that other people come to her for advice. She’s much more included in the community and is much happier and more empowered as a result.
This three-year project with ADD International is funded by the innocent foundation, whose main mission is to help hungry people around the world. Most of the women Becky met in Cambodia were living on one meal a day before the project but now, with the money they’re earning, they can afford to eat much better. The innocent foundation hopes to reach many more hungry people so that they can take control of their lives and access enough food for themselves and their families.