What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to go out into a countryside school and write poetry with a bunch of kids? One of Writing Through‘s partners, ODA, is an educational shelter for extremely disadvantaged kids in the Angkor district of Siem Reap. We have the pleasure of running full length workshops out there every year, but this year I also went out myself to lead a one-session workshop on poetry writing. Cambodia loves its holidays, and International Women’s Day is a national holiday, which means no school. But the kids at ODA were happy to have me come and work with them. I know what a terrific group of kids they are, but honestly , I was surprised to see 24 of them show up for the workshop.
Through prompts, brainstorming, asking a lot of questions and just plain fooling around, we stretched our ideas and challenged ourselves about what rights everyone has and women’s role in society. This society is changing quickly and the younger generation are finding their way towards gender equity while preserving traditional Cambodian values. I’ll let the poem speak for itself:
Woman Can Do Anything
Women and human rights day.
Women can do anything
Mothers in the world, can have babies
Women can do the same as men
All humans can study.
Women can make peace,
can have a high salary.
Woman can change her life.
Woman can get an education.
Men can help girls,
girls can help men.
Women can be Prime Ministers.
Women can be chief
Women can work,
can study hard,
can have high goals, make plans
be a manager in a bank, a leader
become smarter.
Humans can have a choice of what they want,IMG_1503