On June 13, 2013 New Day members, Chris Green, Shannon Rogers and Liza Green visited Daughters of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. Amanda King, Donor Relations Manager for Daughters, led the visit to the newly opened Sugar and Spice Garden Café near the Russian market followed by meetings at the Daughters Center with the accounting staff and the Sewing Room Production Manager. We also had the opportunity to see the renovation work at the Daughters guesthouse down the road from the Garden Café and due to open in August this year.
Over lunch at the Garden Café, Amanda outlined all the recent developments at Daughters: the new café and guesthouse, increasing client numbers in the New Day funded Sewing Room and the status of the café and shop at the established Daughters Visitor Center on Street 178. Sales at the two cafes and shop are increasing and there are currently around 120 clients employed by Daughters. Due to their vulnerable life situations, this population requires a lot of care and support services, especially in the first six months of their employment. Daughters provides social work, medical and child care support for their clients. If the clients manage to last through their initial 6 trainee months at Daughters they seem to enjoy the stability of their employment and the organization manages to retain them. A lot of extra support and monitoring is needed for the new client staff and Daughters is seeing an increase in the trauma exhibited by this population. Daughters staff regularly conduct outreach into the red light districts to connect with potential clients and bring them into the organization. They also work with NGO partners who refer clients to them.
As Daughters grows and expands their businesses they are facing many challenges with regard to staffing, production and client management but they continue to provide a support structure and employment for girls and women choosing to end a life in the brothels.
In March 2013 New Day made a grant of US$18,000 to Daughters of Cambodia. This is the 3rd grant New Day has made to the organization. The grant will be used to cover staffing costs, business operations and running costs for the Sewing room and the counseling, medical and day care building.
Daughters continues to develop their six fair trade businesses and now employs the majority of clients in their Sewing Room. You can read their latest report for New Day here: new day.daughters update.
Daughters opened their second cafe in the Russian Market area of Phnom Penh. They also signed a new lease on a property to become the first Daughters B&B. There are presently 98 clients working at the various Daughters business lines, of which 25 are working in the cafes and the visiting center.
One of the concerns last Spring when meeting with Ruth was how to support the morale of the staff while also providing support to clients traumatized by their trafficking and work in the sex industry. After the death of one of the clients at the hands of an abusive partner, the management and social work team has put a more supportive structure in place, including weekly support meetings and monthly debriefing meetings.
You can read the final report from Daughters on the 2012 funding here: New Day Foundation Report_July-Sept2012
New Day members Shannon Rogers, Georgie Kirkaldie and Paola de Antonellis visited Daughters on the May 2012 site visit to Phnom Penh. You can read Shannon’s summary of the visit below. For more information you can contact Shannon on <firstname.lastname@example.org> and download the new day.daughters update.:
We had an opportunity to sit down with Ruth, the Founder and Director of Daughters of Cambodia during our May visit. It has been a busy 6 months for them. They moved and settled into a new facility that has much better space for all the business lines, the services, and operations. The only space that is lacking is for the daycare center. Since the daycare center needs are growing, with 11 pregnant clients, Ruth is hoping to partner with another NGO to outsource the daycare needs. This will be beneficial to the children and the mothers, as the program will be more structured for them. The new space has given them a much larger Sewing Room, and good space to develop the Son’s Program, that was really just getting off the ground when we last visited in November. The Son’s program has really developed their woodcraft product line, while the Sewing Room has greatly developed their craft line. We were impressed with all the new Bears, Monkeys, and gift items.
The product line is developing and the quality is looking great!
Daughters will be opening a new Cafe near the Russian Market in the next few months.
Right now there are 90 clients working for daughters, 10 of which are young men in the Son’s line. So with the clients, the 20 volunteers, and 20 employees, Daughters has become a good sized company with 120 people. Ruth estimated that 50% of their operating costs are now covered by income from the various business lines. They are still dependent on donors to help them provide full services of Mental Health Support, Medical Support, and Childcare support as these women are being trained and learning how to support themselves and their families outside of the sex industry. The pressures are great on these women to provide, and it is crucial for them to be receiving a livable wage as they are being trained and learning skills that will hopefully help them earn income for the rest of their lives.
Ruth stated that the greatest challenge for her organization at this time is to protect the emotional well-being of her staff and her volunteers, in addition to the clients.
Ruth stated that funding support going forward should be focused on helping Daughters to make their business even stronger….
On November 24, New Day members Chris and Liza Green, Shannon Rogers, Georgie Kirkaldie and Amanda Clarke from Linklaters – our co-funders – visited Daughters in Phnom Penh. Our visit gave us a chance to review our first grant (you can read the report here: New Day. Daughters Report 2011) as well as discuss the details of our second grant that was disbursed in November (you can read the grant proposal here: Daughters New Day proposal 2011). Our grant covered all the expenses listed except for the silk screening business and the move to new premises as this is still pending.
You can read about our visit in this post from New Day member Shannon Rogers:
Daughters had a very busy year working on the quality and efficiency of their Fair Trade Businesses. They are growing and have space for additional clients.
The Cafe: We had an opportunity to have lunch in the Cafe over the shop. There was a marked improvement in the service and food quality. Business has been doing well.
The Spa: This has also been much busier than expected. Initially the jewelry business was moved over to the Shop space in order to train the women in both Spa services and Jewelry making – making better use of their time. However, the Spa has been so busy that there has been little time for Jewelry making.
The Jewelry Business: To address the demand, additional clients were moved over to the Shop workspace to focus on the Jewelry. It was determined that the Jewelry line is the biggest seller in the store, so Daughters is working to capitalize on that.
The Daycare: There are over 20 young children in the daycare now, many of which are babies. The clients working in the Sewing Room also rotate through the daycare, giving them a chance to spend time with the children and learn parenting skills. Daughters has a relationship with several NGO schools for placement of all the school aged children of clients.
The Men’s Program: Daughters started a program to work with husband’s of clients who are abusive. The Social Workers have been going to the clients homes and working with the men on behavioral management techniques. Behavioral improvements have been seen and the Social Workers would like to continue building on this program.
The Woodworking Program: A new line of wood carvings has been designed and the clients in the Sons program are being trained in woodworking skills. They are also responsible for all the coconut buttons and coconut pieces used in the clothing and jewelry lines.
The Sewing Room: Most of the New Day Grant in 2011 went to the Sewing Room. Training courses were provided to 18 clients and 4 staff, covering pattern cutting, production management, and production techniques. Socheata, the Sewing Room Manager, stated that the training have dramatically improved the efficiency in the sewing room and the quality of the products. She also noted that the clients were taking much greater pride in their work – stating that they feel like they are actually part of a real business, not just an NGO. The trainings, new equipment purchased with help from New Day, and a new inventory system has really streamlined the business. They are selling through their online catalog and their shop.
Based on such positive feedback on the training programs both from a business perspective and a psychological perspective, we discussed the possibility of further trainings. Ruth will investigate if there are more advance modules. Also, the clients who participated in the trainings were literate. So we discussed ways in which illiterate clients could participate in the future, whether GIPC has a program, or if a buddy system or a pre-training program could work, so that all clients could benefit from the program.
A big challenge discussed for the Sewing Room is the difficulty in sourcing fabric. Based on the amount purchased, they tend to buy scraps and have a difficult time finding the same fabric again. This can be a challenge for larger orders and/or managing catalog buyers expectations.
An overall challenge right now is the limitations and poor physical state of the existing workshop. Ruth is actively looking for a new space in Phnom Penh. They are hoping to move in the near future and this will increase their expenses.
Daughters is really utilizing volunteers to develop their designs, implement an inventory system, run the daycare, etc. We met a group of committed volunteers, staff, and clients.
In May 2011 a group of New Day members visited Daughters of Cambodia during our trip to Phnom Penh. Daughters helps girls and women exit the sex trade by providing them with training and fair trade paid jobs in small businesses it runs including jewellery-making, sewing of home ware and accessories and a cafe and spa that it operates. Following a USD16,040 grant New Day and Linklaters gave Daughters for their sewing operations at the end of 2010 our members were keen to visit the sewing room at the Daughters Centre as well as the Daughters cafe and shop during our May 26-28 Phnom Penh group field trip. The visitor centre comprises a shop, woman’s spa and café. Daughters employs around 15 girls or “clients” here, some of whom are training as managers and other positions of responsibility. The shop sells beautifully hand-made clothes, fashion accessories and home furnishings produced in the sewing room at the day centre. Several purchases were made by the group! We also enjoyed a lunch at the café where we were able to sample the food and speak with the manager about the progress the staff is making. We were given a good overview of the successes and challenges faced in the safe/Shop since its opening in June 2010. They are still working on staff training to optimize the efficient running of the café. The food at the cafe was fresh and tasty and the shop on the ground floor is dong very well – more than covering its costs. Sadly there was insufficient time to road test the spa! All Daughter’s businesses are targeted to become self-sustaining over time, hence reducing donor dependence. Hopefully a new entry in Luxe City Guides: Cambodia and Laos, will give a boost to trade.
At the Daughters Centre we met up with the inspirational Ruth Elliott, Founder and CEO, for an in-depth review of all six businesses. We were given an important insight into the daily social and cultural issues the NGO faces. Our group had the opportunity to meet some of the clients Daughters employs as we looked around the operation of its businesses, namely sewing , jewelry-making and t-shirt silk screening. We were struck by the industrious and very congenial environment. Management is searching for a new building as it was evident the current premises are now too small. The New Day grant for sewing training and equipment has helped increase efficiency and capacity. Indeed, as a reflection of the sewing room’s ongoing success, product demand continues to outstrip supply. Our group discussed a number of possible future funding areas to assist the Daughters operation with Ruth including inventory control management, management systems, employing an accountant, contributing to new building rental and covering the running costs of the creche and medical/counseling services. We were impressed with what Daughters has achieved so far and were all happy to have been able to contribute to their success.
Caroline Basham – New Day Member
From a meeting in May 2010 in Phnom Penh, New Day remained in active contact with Ruth Elliott, Founder and CEO of Daughters of Cambodia, a non-profit organization focused on creating sustainable employment for young girls escaping the sex industry in Phnom Penh (www.daughtersofcambodia.org). Our meetings in Phnom Penh and correspondence have revealed an exciting opportunity to support an organization in its infancy that has developed an exceptional model to reintegrate victims of sexual exploitation into society. Daughters have developed six micro businesses that are targeting to become self-sustaining over time. With the exception of key management, the businesses are all staffed with women who have been trafficked.
These businesses aim to achieve sustainable income generation in order to cover salaries and running costs and eventually become financially self-sustainable to reduce future donor dependence. All Clients are given the chance to achieve promotions through a 6 level structure within the businesses. Daughters also seeks to “graduate” women, moving them to external employment or self employment using their new skills. Once a Client has been at Daughters for more than 2 years, they are encouraged to exit the program through a tailored plan to enable successful graduation. Obviously, this makes way for more Clients to join the program.
In December 2010 New Day gave Daughters a USD16,040 grant for training and new equipment that will increase the efficiency and capacity of their sewing operations. This grant was generously co-funded by our corporate partner, Linklaters. The Sewing Room is the largest business at Daughters, employing up to 60 Clients. It produces clothing, fashion accessories and home furnishings, which are sold through Daughters’ own store and to select overseas buyers. Clients can achieve different levels of promotion including Trainer, Team Leader and Designer before graduating from the 2 year Daughters program. The operation has, to date, been successful and current demand is outstripping capacity. The co-funding by New Day and Linklaters is intended to build efficiency and capacity in the business, which will drive revenue and improved profitability.
New Day will be visiting Daughters in May and we look forward to seeing their progress!