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Read about our organisational restructure, our steps to ensure our sustainability, and the development of our staff!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the April edition of our newsletter! April is an important month in Cambodia, as Khmer New Year is celebrated. This means our staff and students who come from other provinces will go back to their homelands to spend time with their families, so we are closed for six days. When we reopen, we will be recruiting new students for the next semester of our English program, while our current English students sit their exams to determine whether they will move up to the next level.
 
There has been ample development and progress made at Human and Hope Association this year, so read on to see what has been happening!

Team HHA

Organisational Restructure

In January this year, our Director moved on to another organization. This provided a great opportunity for a reshuffle and our staff to be promoted. We now have a more streamlined organizational structure. Our Education and Community Coordinator, Chhalin, was promoted to Education Manager, given his passion for education and commitment to our existing education program.
 
Our Education and Community Assistant, Samen, took a giant leap into the position of Vocational Training Manager, where he is responsible for managing and expanding the sewing program, setting up a sewing business and implementing new vocational training opportunities for the poorest villagers in our community.
 
Our Community Liaison, Thai, stepped into the role of Community Manager. He is now responsible for overseeing all our community projects, and managing our cleaning and security staff, who we always recruit from poor families.
 
Since the restructure, we have found the staff have felt more empowered, taken on a lot of responsibility and are thriving in their roles. Our Operations Manager, Sally, will work closely with the three managers to aid their professional development, and at the end of the year will promote a manager into the position of Director. 

Trial Home Sewing Business

We recently began a two-month home sewing business trial with three of our advanced sewing students. The purpose of this trial is to determine the most efficient way to set up a home sewing business for our students, and to identify any problems we may come across. These ladies make their allocated products with the sewing machines purchased through our microfinance program. They receive a fair wage, with Samen distributing their salary weekly. We have sourced a couple of locations to sell our products, and are looking for more distributors so we can make this a permanent project which will contribute greatly to the sustainability of our organization. To view some of our products, head to http://www.humanandhopeassociation.org/sewing-products/. 

Advanced Sewing Program

We launched our Advanced Sewing Program in February, with seven students currently studying. This class aims to provide our students with further skills which will put them ahead in the job market, including patchwork and hand sewing. After seeking feedback from our students, we also changed the daily student stipend to include ingredients such as sugar, salt and garlic one day a week instead of 1kg of rice. This enables the students to add flavor to their food without having to spend money on this luxury! 

Staff Savings Scheme

This month marked the launch of our Staff Savings Scheme. Staff members are able to save up to 5% of their monthly salary with HHA, with HHA matching the savings each month. Our staff were each issued with a ‘HHA Savings Book’ so they can keep track of their funds and be motivated to continue saving. They worked with their managers to determine an appropriate savings goal, with the option to withdraw their funds only available when they reach their goal. The most common savings goals were to buy motorbikes, or, in the case of some of the men in our team, to get married. Everyone has chosen to save the full 5% each month, and they are excited to get saving!

Microfinance

At the end of this month we will launch the second round of our microfinance program. It is expected we will distribute eight loans to our community members. The current repayment rate is 100%, with eight borrowers across our microfinance and sewing program – all female!

Social Work Course

For the past four months, Chhalin and Thai have been studying the Social Work Direct Practice Skills course held by the Royal University of Phnom Penh. March marked the end of the course, which consisted of workshops, quizzes and assignments. Chhalin and Thai have already put the skills they learnt into practice, and are much more confident with addressing challenging situations in our community. 

Job Skills Workshop

To expand our community support, we recently held our first job skills workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to address the issue we had identified of many Khmers not knowing how to write a successful C.V and cover letter. Salin organized it, and presented the workshop with Thai to thirteen participants. After receiving feedback, this workshop will be developed so we can further expand it into the community, and incorporate job interview skills, too!

Family Farm

We will soon launch our Family Farm Program trial, with Thai busy researching the best way to implement this project. The purpose is to provide the families chosen with training, knowledge and resources so they are able to grow food for their own use and to sell, whichever they may choose as the best option. The families are being charged 50% of the cost, as they need to be accountable for their own lives and not relying on direct aid.

New Textbook

Next month will mark the start of a new English semester, and a new textbook! We find that the textbooks we use are not culturally suitable, and our students are often learning words which are not relevant and they will never use again. Our ‘Introduction to English’ textbook, developed by our staff, will replace the starter course, and includes many activities, culturally suitable words and pictures, as well as an accompanying teachers book. We aim to replace all our existing textbooks with our own over the next couple of years. 
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Our mailing address is:
info@humanandhopeassociation.org
www.humanandhopeassociation.org