By Emily Butler who works at Rahab’s House in Siem Reap
International Women’s Day was Friday, March 8, so we planned a celebration for our girls. Our staff made beautiful invitations to ask that they join us for dinner that evening, prepared by Clay and another one of our male volunteers. I worked with another volunteer Brittnay to do the girls’ hair and makeup, and after dinner we all posed for pictures.
Our goal was threefold–first, to have a fun time with the girls. Too often, it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of school, work, doing chores, making curfew, etc. for the girls, that they don’t have time just to have a good time, and we want to have fun with them too! Second, it was to show them what good men are and how they should act–in service, in humility, and as protectors rather than exploiters. Khmer culture tends to be patriarchal, and while some of the girls may have had good male role models in their lives, too many have been hurt in the past by men who did not understand the value of women.
Third and finally, our goal was to show the girls how special, valuable and important they are. We want them to know how much we love them by serving them, by treating them with respect, and by making them feel special.
Overall, I think the evening was a success. They stuffed themselves with the food, more than 25 people attended (the girls, staff, family members and boyfriends), they didn’t want to stop taking photos. It was a great night 🙂