Over the years, SALT has had both resounding success as well as significant challenges:
Whether it be the ever-increasing participation in our Youth League, the growing number of girls attending our Summer School, or our expanding engagement with international exchanges and trainings, SALT’s capacity to impact change at the grassroots level keeps improving. As such, here are a few examples of SALT’s achievements over the years:
- Totalling the approximate populations of the three provinces we work in, Battambang, Poipet and Pailin, the number of participants in our Youth League is roughly equivalent to a thousandth of the total of people who live in these provinces.
- This year will be the second time that our Summer School includes a weekend-long workshop on self-defence, providing girls with conflict resolution techniques to avoid threatening situations.
The road hasn’t always been easy. Given that we target underlying social structures which shape the Cambodian society daily, we are often confronted to severe resistance. This is particularly so when we approach issues related to women’s rights. In this sense, football has been a great way for us to promote an inclusive environment where the issue of gender and ascribed roles can be addressed in a consistent and open manner. As such, SALT believes that football can create a space where traditional gender roles can be revisited and reconciled in respectful and tolerant manner.
There have however been setbacks because it is sometimes impossible to successfully break the beneficiaries of our programs out of their own negative cycles. For instance, the Street Kids program is often hard-pressed to retain the children: they may come a couple of times but rarely commit on a regular basis. In the case of the Mighty Girls, there have been a few cases when, even with the financial and educational resources we provide them with, girls were nonetheless trafficked to Thailand or sold into child marriage. However, rather than writing these cases off as failures, we take them as reminders that our work is very much needed in Cambodia today.