The coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the world and is certainly a presence now in Cambodia. Overnight our number of infected people doubled from 12 to 24. We had already been working on a DDP plan to help control the spread of the virus, and early in the morning our management team finalized a work-from-home policy. In the afternoon we gathered all the Phnom Penh staff on our porch (to minimize contact and provide more ventilation) and we explained the policy, who is to work where and how, and then sent them home for the next four to eight weeks. Who knows?
Today we had a celebration of women at our DDP office grounds and it was a fun event even though on a smaller scale than in the past. Click here to see what was going on.
Today Save the Children had an event to publicize and promote their project in Pursat Province in which they are encouraging school teachers of hearing students to learn Cambodian Sign Language and to use it to make education available for deaf students in the remote areas. They have produced some good materials, and just the fact that they are now an ally in promoting the use of sign language in Cambodia is a real boost.
Our center in Kampot, one of three, had to close in January because we anticipated there would not be enough funds to continue it through this present year. Last week we went to the center to say another farewell to the staff and to bring back to Phnom Penh some of our equipment there. Click here to see some pictures from the day.
Today our program manager, Prak Soeun (L), and I went to Kampot for a final meeting with four staff (the two on each side of me) who have lost their jobs as DDP has had to reduce its activities in the province because of budget cuts from international donors. The two staff on the far right will continue providing minimal activities to keep the deaf community engaged there.
While the Wuhan coronavirus is making the headlines and causing disruptions around the world, the bigger problem at DDP is mosquitoes. Recently we have had a second big infestation of the insects and today we sent the staff and students home early and a pest control company came to fog our grounds and our buildings to hopefully reduce the number of the little nasties.
Last week twelve of our students graduated from DDP’s Job Training Project after a year of training. It was a happy and important day. The students had been trained in metalwork, sewing, barbering, and beauty skills. Click here to see photos from the day.
Ms. Kem Khemara is the owner/director of the Bi Salon beauty establishments in Phnom Penh. She spent seven years in Japan and speaks the language fluently, and she is also an accomplished businesswoman. She has taken a special interest in training young deaf women to work in her salons and they have been very successful, so much so that Japanese television came to film a documentary about her accomplishments. Here she is filmed speaking to DDP’s co-director Keat Sokly about her involvement with the DDP students.