I am Suzuka Mizutani, one of the "Reporters for Friendship" for spring break in 2013.
March 31 (Sun.)
We visited "House for Youth" to introduce Japanese culture. We explained about ninja and wrote our names in Japanese to make name cards. When we were making ninja stars using origami paper, young people living in the House all gathered around us and started making ninja stars with us. As it was difficult to tell how to make them in words, we tried to talk slowly showing them samples. They were skillful and could make ninja stars very well. We made so many ninja stars as we made them together.
It seemed very difficult for them to write their names in Japanese, but they tried very hard to find and copy their own names. It was a good idea to have our name cards, as we could address each other by names. After having meals together and talking a lot, I felt very close to them. Socheng game me flowers and Sreypheap put them in my hair. I was so happy.
After we had dinner while enjoying our chat, we had a party. We all danced and sang songs and it was really fun. Doing Cambodian dance was more difficult than it looked. Sreypheap and Phalla taught me by dancing with me whole time. Everyone in House for Youth was so friendly that I could not believe that it was my first time to meet them. I had a very good day.
April 1 (Mon.)
We interviewed about KnK's vocational training and IGA(Income Generating Activities) this morning. IGA is an activity for the youth who finished vocational training to earn income as producers. KnK's vocational training and IGA includes making rattan furniture, weaving and sewing. I was so impressed with many young people working hard for their future as well as for their family members.
We interviewed some of them who are not living in House for Youth. We heard that most of their families are financially struggling.
We interviewed a girl named Linee who has vocational training of weaving. She is 19 years old and started the training about 8 months ago. She does not live in House for Youth and comes here by bicycle from her house about 2 km away. She has two younger sisters who go to public school. As it was difficult for them to afford educational materials, she started to have KnK's vocational training. Her father works as a driver, but they have limited income, as she lost her mother. So, she wants to support her family after finishing the training course.
Suzuka, trying weaving.
Suzuka, trying weaving.
In the afternoon we interviewed Soktran who has vocational training of car repair. Many young people including Soktran and others living in House for Youth were smeared with oil, working hard in the hot weather. We also interviewed Soktran. He is 19 years old and started vocational training about a year ago. He lives in House for Youth and has the training every day from 7am to 5 or 6pm except Sundays. It usually takes about 2 or 3 years to become a full-fledged mechanic and the manager told us that it would take one more year for him. Soktran wants to master skills to open his own repair shop as early as possible.
I was moved by their earnest attitudes towards training and working for their own sake and for their family members. There may be various reasons why they are involved in training or IGA instead of going to school, but we learned that many of them want to support their families after learning some skills.