Those must vulnerable to labour exploitation are those with limited land tenure, education and limited local employment opportunities. Building safe and resilient communities, and developing skills for local livelihoods is an effective response to help address some of these vulnerabilities to exploitative labour that further entrenches poverty.
In today’s blog we look at how a community in Kampong Tham, Cambodia outworks this as they seek to address this vulnerability by finding ways for women to live in their communities, while also earning a viable income.
High unemployment rates in rural Cambodia, especially among women, can lead this vulnerable segment of the population to migrate to Phnom Penh in search of work. Here, they are at high risk of labour exploitation, either through factory work, the sex industry or other forms of dangerous labour that offer little pay or a realistic chance to escape poverty.
The Kampong Thom Vocational Training Project seeks to address this vulnerability, finding ways for women to live in their communities while also earning a viable income. The aim of the project is to provide educational training so participants can earn a liveable wage for themselves and their families into the future. With the training provided, women will be more likely to obtain an enjoyable and better paying job than the exploitative labour conditions that are so prevalent in city work and factory labour.
Through the Kampong Thom project, a total of 12 to 15 students will be trained in beauty, nail and make-up services over a 12 month course. The training will be taught five days a week, seven hours a day. Topics covered include safety and sanitation, first aid, professional ethics, salon management, and state laws. Students will undertake oral, written and practical exams about massage and beauty services, and about the legal framework in which businesses like this function. Learning more than the basic delivery of these beauty services enables participants to engage in this vocation with a higher degree of understanding about their legal rights as a worker and/or employer.
In the future, this project aims to expand available classes to include training on Microsoft Office, sewing clothes, and bicycle/motorbike repair.