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Letter from Banteay Prieb

Banteay Prieb is a vocational training center for persons with disability. Both male and female students from regions all around Cambodia gather here and learn to live a self-reliant life. Although all students come from different backgrounds, they are similar in that they have never lived as an independent and active part of the society. This is why many students struggle with homesickness when they arrive at the center for the first time. To those who have never left home before, the sudden change in environment could be very difficult to cope with. However, they slowly learn to enjoy the life here as they empathize with teachers and friends who are, or have

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been, in a similar situation. Banteay Prieb is not only a place for learning technical skills. It also helps students escape from the stereotype that they are incapable and find new hope in life. In fact, students’ growth in self-confidence and independence happens quite quickly and conspicuously in Banteay Prieb. By the end of the school year, they not only live and travel on their own but also participate in various social activities without hesitation. One year could be a very short part of life, but the happiness and experience that our students gain over this period could be hardly found anytime or anywhere else. Most importantly, they earn a second family that gives great love and encouragement. Finally, I would like to thank our volunteers whose sincere interest and involvement make this place a much better place than it would be without them. Best Wishes,

Yun Pheary â—Ž Yun Pheary completed the agriculture course of Banteay Prieb in 2008 and has been working as a student care teacher since 2009.

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Joyful and fruitful ending of the year,

Scenes Scenes from from Graduation Graduation Day Day The 18th of December was the most memorable day of the 2013 school year. This day, the 26th batch of Banteay Prieb finally concluded their yearlong journey here and set off for an even bigger adventure into the world. The celebration that started early in the morning continued until the following midnight, filling the entire school with joyful laughter.

After the ceremony came an opportunity for students to show their growth throughout the year in Banteay Prieb. Booths were set up by courses outside the auditorium, each adorned with students’ proudest products of the year, photos and decorations. From motorbikes to television sets, traditional Khmer outfits and sculptures, each and every component of the exhibition attracted great attention. We began the day with ceremonial presenting of diplomas. In the presence of the governor of Kandal Province and representatives of other non-governmental organizations, students were commended for their fruitful completion of the vocational training program. All students received both the Banteay Priebapproved certificate of course completion and the government-authorized license of technical skills, which will soon hang proudly on the walls of newly opening workshops all around Cambodia, providing reliability to customers and everlasting pride to the graduates

Students had lunch with their housemates and teachers as usual, and then they spent several hours outdoors competing in various sports

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danced to the live music all night long. Meanwhile, special prizes were awarded and sewing students presented the products of their diligent training through a fabulous fashion show.

for prizes. The first event was a relay race of twelve runners, each representing one of the twelve houses. Afterwards, students proceeded to volleyball, foot-volleyball, “sack-race,” and finally a Cambodian game of breaking jars full of snacks that is very similar to breaking of piñata in the western culture. Thanks to our athletes and their passionate rooters, cheers and shouts continued throughout the afternoon.

The last moment came, at last. The band stopped playing, signaling that it was time to go back home and pack for the trip back to hometown tomorrow. Many eyes were full of tears, but most students wished farewell to one anther quite calmly. The shoulders of the students heading back home seemed heavy with a mixed feeling of sadness and relief, worries and hope. The greetings that we exchanged on the graduation day were no different than usual. “Sok subbay?” (Are you happy?) We asked one another, and everyone answered more wholeheartedly than ever. “Subbay Nah!” (Very much!)

After a brief break, students dressed themselves up in beautiful attires and gathered for the dinner. This feast was special in that teachers attended to everything for students, from cooking to dishwashing, as a way of complimenting their achievement. However, the real party started only after dinner. Students and teachers sang and

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My Name is Prom Sophea.


When I was young...

My name is Prom Sophea. I was born in 1987 to a poor family in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. I have three sisters and five brothers. My father taught at an elementary school for living while my mother took care of the household. As a child, I liked to follow my father to work, dreaming of becoming a teacher like him someday. Realistically speaking, however, his job was not so perfect as I once thought. He received only 15 dollars every month, which was far too little to support a large family like us. To make up for the shortage, my family grew and sold a modest amount of rice.

In school 2. I began to go to school at the age of 6 and completed up to eighth grade. I spent quite a long time on my bicycle during school years because the school was very far away from where I lived, outside the boundary of my village. On weekends, I was paid for working at a large farm that grew potatoes and beans. I supported my family and study this way. 3.

The accident

In 2004, I had a landmine accident that paralyzed the lower half of my body. Devastated, I refused to step out of my house for nearly one year. To make matters even worse, my father’s health quickly declined around the time of my injury. We sold all we had in order to make money for my father’s and my medical expenses, but he soon passed away and I was left in hopelessness.

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Banteay Prieb

I first learned about Banteay Prieb when its outreach team visited my village in 2008. The team suggested that I study there, and I accepted the offer after some consideration. I promised myself to stop feeling ashamed of my disability and find ways to cope with it. Once I arrived in Banteay Prieb in 2009, a whole new life opened up in front of me. I made new friends, went on picnics with them, and bought my own food at the market. I learned that I was capable of supporting myself despite my disability. Furthermore, I formed a firm belief that the sewing skills I learned here would help me become a financially and socially independent person in the future.


Life in Banteay Prieb

It was not only the sewing skills that Banteay Prieb taught me. It guided me to realize my ability as an independent individual as well as the importance of community life. I had opportunities to travel to different parts of the country, and I was also taught the rights that I could claim as a disabled person and as a human being. If there was one thing that never got easy, though, it was the deep homesickness that stayed with me throughout the school year.


Working in Banteay Prieb

Banteay Prieb was recruiting new staff members around the time I finished my one-year sewing

â–˛ With Sewing production family

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course. I was employed as part of the sewing production team soon after the graduation. I felt very accomplished to finally begin my own career. The work was not so easy at first because I did not have much experience in the area yet. With continuous encouragement from my family, the coworkers and Jin Hee – the designer of our team at the time – I was able to pass the difficult period very smoothly. The day I received my first salary was the happiest day in my life. I sent a share to my family and kept the rest for myself. My coworkers and I witness our workshop growing in size and skills day by day. Our sewing techniques are improving, and more and more customers buy our products. Of course, the work cannot always be easy, but we always try to solve problems together as a team in a joyful atmosphere. In 2012, I became the leader of the sewing production. I now had to carry the responsibility for everything that happened inside the workshop. It was not easy at first, but I eventually found ways to get around many hardships. The most important things are to be always hopeful and to have the perseverance to keep going on. Banteay Prieb provides a great working environment. I have opportunities to continue learning even after graduation. I feel much more free and comfortable here than in any other places that I have worked before. I feel at home in Banteay Prieb rather than at work.


In the future

I wish our workshop continues to improve and be a new hope to many other disabled people. I support and thank Banteay Prieb’s efforts to guide the disabled live a better life. I also hope my dream of becoming a designer comes true soon.

▶ The first photo of Sophea in 2009, when she entered to study

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It is time to leave. Putting the dear memories of Banteay Prieb behind, we must now return home. With hearts as heavy as our backpack We set off for yet another journey of a lifetime. Because we now have a second home That will support us through any hardship, We erase all worries from mind and continue on Toward our tomorrow in the bosom of our beloved family. â—Ž The outreach team keeps track of all Banteay Prieb graduates for at least five years after their graduation. It works to help persons with disability achieve social and financial independence through livelihood support, employment aid and opportunities for additional training.

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Graduate ceremony

The 26th graduation ceremony was held in 18th December. There were 95 students who completed one year course in machine, electron, agriculture, sewing, shoemaking, and carpentry. Also, there were 6 students who completed two years course in carpentry, 1o students who finished 6 month course in cellphone repairing. Total 111 students gained the honor of graduation. Thanks for their hard working and congratulations to all.

2. All staff evaluation meeting

19th to 20th December, there was an all staff evaluation meeting. Job training school, production, outreach, Mekong wheelchair team gathered altogether, shared business contents, and discussed about the plan in 2014. During the evaluation meeting, training on understanding of mental weakness was held to every employees and we set a bond of sympathy about further development of job training. It was a meaningful time to share opinions to become more professional as a special education institution.


Bon Umtok: Water festival

The water festival of Cambodia was held in 16th to 18th November. It’s time when flooded river during the rainy season changes its flow direction and Cambodians celebrate this. In Banteay Prieb, students who didn’t go back home, they celebrated it also. They gathered altogether in a garden and enjoyed a little snack made of rice which was harvested in this year.


International day of People with Disabilities

3rd December, it’s an international day of people with disability. On 10th December, NGOs that are associated with the disabled in Cambodia had time to celebrate for this special day. Every student in Banteay Prieb joined this celebration. They enjoyed performance, had delicious lunch, and participated in sports day with other people with disability from other NGOs. It was a good time to see other NGOs activities and bond through sports. We hope that the events have helped them to recognize their own rights as disabled people and feel pride of themselves.

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News of Craft PEACE Café

During fourth quarter of this year, in craft peace café, we had plentiful end of year celebration with a variety of culture events. On 20th to 28th November, for people who were damaged by bad flood in Philippine, there was a fund raising exhibition called “Native Sons”. On 30th November to 5th January, there was another exhibition called “Images of Faith: Korea through the Cambodians eyes”. It contented the experience of MAGIS team of Cambodia who had spent time in Korea. On 15th December, we had Christmas celebrations. Choirs from France and Philippine performed Christmas carol, a crown from Belgium surprisingly visited us, and a priest in Santa costume gave cookies away to all. Expatriate families in Cambodia were thrilled with the events. We support craft peace café’s effort in communicating with a variety of social and cultural issues and expanding their roles.

Mary Hugs Child

Size : 20cm Color : White or Brown Price : 25$ Caption : This sculpture of Mary embracing her child Jesus brings about a feeling of universality that transcends cultural barriers. Through the skill of our sculptors, Mary becomes an embodiment of tenderness.

Special Thanks to...

Saint Ignatious’ College-Reverview


Mouvement Eucharistique des Jeunes

Ulsan Seongan Catholic Parish / 아름다운 생명사랑 / The Friends of Hong Kong / The Friends of Battambang Lee Haeji / Yoon Junyeong / Kim Yunjeong / Jannet Goh / Jang Anselmous / Joseph Yao, SJ

Banteay Prieb, founded by the Jesuit Service Cambodia, aims to help those victimized by war, land mines, polio and accidents achieve independence and find dignity in themselves through vocational training and psychological support.

Support us


Bank : ACLEDA Bank Plc / Address : #61, Preah Monvong Blvd, Email.

Sangkat Srah Chork, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / Detail : +855 23994444/15999233, / Account : Saving / SWIFT CODE : ACLBKHPP / CHIPS UID : 415637 / Name : Jesuit Service-Cambodia(Community) /Account NO. : 0001-20-296380-2-99

Ordering and buying our products alog Email.

Phone. +855 12617721 Post Adress P.O BOX 880, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Letter from Banteay Prieb_Vol.15_Eng  

Quarterly Newsletter of Banteay Prieb, vocational training center for PWDs in Cambodia. 2013.10~12.