Workforce Advisor from Brotherhood NDIS Services, Helene Dore, was invited to share her experience to help Cambodian non-profit organisation Children’s Future International (CFI).
Children’s Future International (CFI) supports children experiencing extreme disadvantage in rural Cambodia with social work and educational services.
At the Brotherhood, Helene is Workforce Advisor for our Local Area Coordination team, and has a background in disability service and development advice.
Invited to share her expertise on disability and mental health as part of an outreach program, Helene joined Malitha Perera, former Brotherhood LAC Senior Manager, and Janet Milne, a Neuropsychologist from New Zealand, to form an international team.
The outreach program will support and increase the confidence of local staff to identify and better support children and adults with disability.
‘It’s a privilege to have received this shared experience and the opportunities this can bring for both CFI and the Brotherhood in the future,’ said Helene.
Travelling by Tuk-Tuk to the CFI facility in the Ek Phnom District, Helene, Janet and Malitha spent a week with CFI and teachers and social workers from partner organisations, introducing them to a range of disability and mental health awareness workshops and activities.
Staff provided positive feedback on the content of the workshops that focused on increasing the understanding of stigma, assumptions and equality in the context of disability. It is intended that learnings will assist staff in their roles of supporting children and their families.
Building the capacity of communities through education is at the heart of CFI’s mission, with 85% of students progressing to some form of higher education or employment.
Helene described the experience as an “extraordinary insight” into life in rural Cambodia and the resilience of the Khmer people that live with poverty as their norm. The program’s aim is to exchange ideas that will contribute to creating lasting change in the community.
“The real take home message for us was seeing the importance of building capacity locally, so that the community is better equipped to take ownership of initiatives and future planning,” said Helene.
CFI supports over 250 children and their families to provide basic needs, safety and provide educational opportunities with a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty.