Family Livelihood Improvement Project (FLIP): the story of a success
The right to education is one of the most fundamental human rights. Education is critical to lift oneself out of poverty and to the development of any country in the world. Nevertheless, many children all over the world are deprived of this right: they can’t go to school. Poverty is the main cause: many families can’t afford to send their children to school and need them as workforce in order to earn the little money that will enable the family to survive.
To change this, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) and We World launched on the 21st of July 2011 a three-year project called “Family Livelihood Improvement Project” whose aim is to increase access to education for vulnerable children by increasing the income of their head of family and by improving their schooling conditions. The rationale behind the project is that vulnerable parents would never send their children to work if it wasn’t an absolute necessity for their survival. So, if someone could help these parents increase their income, they wouldn’t have to send their children to work and these children could go to school, where their rightful place is.
FLIP is thus providing vulnerable parents in Phnom Penh with training courses (cuisine, cleaning, sewing) lasting four to six months so that they can find employment in these areas. After that, FLIP helps them to find a job and keep it through individual counseling and soft-skills training. Since not everyone can or aspires to be an employee, FLIP is also helping vulnerable parents create their own business through counseling, training, follow-up and affordable credit (through another partner, Credit Mutuel Kampuchea). Since the decay or lack of adequate facilities in schools can also be a reason for drop-out, FLIP is doing renovation work in 4 schools in less wealthy Phnom Penh districts. Finally, FLIP is following up on the daily school attendance of these vulnerable children and taking action when they are at risk of drop-out.
Since the beginning of the project, 520 vulnerable parents have been trained by FLIP and 330 vulnerable parents found a job thanks to the help of our employment service and 484 started a business thanks to the help of FLIP and the loans from CMK.
Besides the supporting the vulnerable parents to changing of perception, understanding of quality of life, the important of child education, the creation of working culture, financial sustainability, and strengthen, increase confidence, restore the resilience, attitude and behavior are signification positive indication of improving the living condition of vulnerable parents.
To complete this article we thought that it would be important to introduce you one mother who benefited of FLIP.
Heng Somom, 25 years old, just graduated in cooking.
Please, introduce yourself.
I have two little boys, one is 6 years old and the other is two years old. I live around PSE center and my oldest boy is supported by pse in a public school.
Today I have received my certificate of cooking after 6 months training with FLIP program.
Do you have a husband?
Yes, my husband is with me and he works in construction. They call him when there is work to do so you can never be sure to work.
What did you do before?
Before I stayed at home ironing clothes or serving in restaurants but nothing regular.
What do you want to do now?
I would like to find a job as a cooker and save money to open a restaurant in my house. I want to serve pork with rice and coffee for breakfast and rice and vegetable during the day. I would like to open this place in my house.
What is your dream for the future of your children?
They are very young and I don’t want to force them to do this or this. My goal is to offer a better future to my children. I haven’t received any education and I spent my life without skills. My dream for them is that they become doctor, surgeon because I think that it is a good job, hard but useful and with a high level of education.
What does FLIP change for you?
First, my son is now safe. Before while we were working nobody could take care of him and sometimes he hurts himself pretty bad but now I can go to the care center of PSE.
Then, FLIP improved my knowledge in cooking. Before I wasn’t a very good cooker and my husband always yell at me because the food wasn’t good enough, Now, he admires me and I am happy to be able to cook a better food to my family. I have a skill for the first time in my life and this is going to change my future, I can have a better future. From nothing to cooking!
Would you like to say something?
Yes I would like to give a special thanks to FLIP. They learn me a skill but also team work and respect. Before I woke up in the morning and try to find some work to do to make money. Now I have skills and I have friends, I have a social life. We talk together, respect each other…
Also I would like to give a special thanks to Mr Yuong Chanthorn, FLIP training manager, because of the soft training he provided me. He taught me how to save money and educate my children. Before I was really stressed and yell a lot at my children but now we communicate and they respect me more.