We would like to share some major news with you – and what better place than the SALT Academy Blog?
SALT Academy has a new Director in Mr. Heang Ly. Starting his career in football with Spirit Of Soccer, Heang spent the last five years in Phnom Penh working as the General Secretary for the largest club in the city, Phnom Penh Crown Football Club. Deciding it was time to come back to Battambang, he has dedicated his time to SALT Academy. Welcome!
The New Mighty Girls Program
The Mighty Girls program is getting a makeover. After seven successful years of the program, SALT Academy has decided to make important programmatic changes designed to enable us to reach out to more girls within the Battambang communities.
The changes will include the re-integration of the girls back into their families and attendance to their local public school. We believe that this will reinforce their role as change makers and young leaders within their districts while strengthening family and community ties, an essential aspect to the well-being of youths. In short, we want to promote them locally without denying them a normal life. The girls then join our dedicated staff at the new SALT Academy centre over the weekends for life skills, supplementary education, football training, educative field trips and workshops. During the week, they live at home, go to public school and, for a small stipend, coach life skills and football three individual times at our partner NGOs’ locations and/or public schools from their districts. This will make the girls more responsible and maximize their impact on their own communities, also allowing SALT Academy to recruit more girls due to the reduced program costs.
We want to reduce the dependency felt by both SALT Academy and the families on the program. While having enormous potential, we recognized that having the Mighty Girls home was, 6 years down the line, not the best for all involved.
A month ago, our challenge was to convince parents of the importance and value of our program in spite of its changes. When we met with the Mighty Girls’ parents, many voiced concerns and reluctance to keep their daughters in the program. Some even stated they would send their daughter to work in Thailand. After some work and clear explanations, we are happy to say that we will retain 100% of the Mighty Girls.
Despite not wanting to create a double-standard, five Mighty Girls are staying at the centre because of their inability to return home or, unfortunately, because home is SALT Academy. We are happy to support these girls to the maximum of our capabilities.
Our New Office and Three new staff
In September, we moved to a new office on the other side of Battambang city: a beautiful Cambodian house with ample space for activities.
The new location is a spacious and calm environment with outdoor shaded working areas, plenty of recreational space, and a separate bedroom for the five aforementioned Mighty Girls. After a few weeks of hard work preparing the new program and moving offices, we are finally set up in our new home. We are optimistic and looking forward to bringing our new program to fruition.
We are also delighted to welcome three former Mighty Girls to our office team. Makara, Sopheavy, and Kimleang, have all three decided to dedicate their time to SALT Academy. Kimleang has already started studying Management of Advertising and currently works part-time with us. Makara and Sopheavy plan is to gain vital work experience with SALT Academy to later enrol in Law and Management courses in 2018.
The Mighty Girls are once again Champions of Cambodia, winning the women’s National Tournament in Kampong Cham in September. While the early stages were simple, we are encouraged by the tenacity and level of the teams faced in the semi-final and final. Women’s football is progressing in Cambodia. Again, congratulations girls!