Click here to learn more about the Impact Organisation
Globally, primary school-age girls are more likely to be out of school than boys are. This gender disparity becomes more pronounced by secondary school, when girls’ enrollment drops sharply. In Cambodia, barriers to education for girls persist as many families see a limited value in educating their daughters. Instead, girls are expected to help in the home, contribute to family income, or marry early. Half of all young girls and one-third of young boys work, creating a 1:3 ratio of girls to boys in school. Trafficking and forced labor, which have increased in the past decade, pose major threats for adolescent Cambodian girls. While the Cambodian government has made efforts to combat trafficking, girls still remain at risk of forced dropout.
To ensure girls succeed in secondary school and beyond, Room to Read works diligently to ensure that participants receive adequate social and material support as they transition into early adulthood. Our program combines life skills education, women mentors (whom we call Social Mobilizers), workshops for their families and community, and need-based material support. For example, our Social Mobilizers monitor girls 'at-risk' of dropping out, who may have missed 3 or more days of school in a row, missed a life skills session, or failed an exam, and act immediately to prevent them from doing so. Our participants are championed to not only advance through school, but graduate with the skills needed to negotiate key life decisions. In fact, many of our participants are the first in their families to graduate from secondary school. Whether these young women go on to attend college, go to work, start families, or all three, they will be empowered to make educated choices about their futures.