CLEW believes that education is the key to promoting fundamental and lasting improvement for women and children in Cambodia. Our mission is to help young women in Cambodia obtain an education. A significant benefit of providing legal education to young women is that it helps them and their families escape the cycle of poverty. It will also empower the students to help bring about change and improve women’s rights within Cambodia.
History of Cambodia
From 1975 to 1979 a communist party known as the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot took control of Cambodia. The people in the city were forced into the countryside and many people were killed or died of starvation along the way. The Khmer Rouge completely disregarded human life. Their goal was to convert Cambodia into a classless agrarian society. They eliminated money, normal schooling, and the traditional culture. Everyone was deprived of their basic human rights. During this four year period it is estimated that two million Cambodians died from execution, disease and starvation, out of a total population of 7 million.
Cambodia is still struggling. There are many Cambodians in the countryside without access to higher education and employment. While some attend elementary school and high school there is no hope for a post-secondary education. Many grow up to be farmers by default with little opportunity for any other means to make a living. Some of the women will attempt to earn money by going to the city to work in the garment factories and will send money home.
What CLEW Does
The CLEW program gives rural Cambodian women a chance. CLEW supports them through a four year legal education. Development literature stresses the importance of educating women because any increase in income will benefit the family and the community. Post-secondary education is transformative. The question arises as to how many women each graduate might touch over her lifetime? Every female student that CLEW educates has the potential to help her family and community and other women throughout Cambodia.
CLEW now has 39 graduates, all of whom have jobs, including:
- Government positions
- Legal aid facilitators
- Administrative assistants
- Legal assistants
- Customer Service Representatives
- Account managers
- Project Coordinators
- Positions in the banking industry