It was a challenge for the male students of Don Bosco Technical School in Sihanoukville: the teacher of AutoCad this year was a woman. It was about Ms. Susan Vroomen from the Netherlands. All the time the teacher of AutoCad has been men, locals or foreigners. Coming from a developed country where gender equality is more common, Susan found that for the Cambodian boys it was strain a woman teaching a “male” subject.
In Cambodia, a country thriving for its development after decades of poverty, wars and conflicts, there is still the idea that there are subjects for men and subjects for women. Things like automotive, mechanic, electricity and heavy machines are seen as things exclusively for men. While women are associated to sewing, culinary or secretary among others. So far, the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia’s technical schools and vocational centers have followed that same pattern with a gradual changing in some projects. For example, the technical sections in Don Bosco Kep joint male with female students in its different programs, so it is possible to find young men studying office administration (former secretariat) and young women studying electricity. For Fr. Ly Samnang of Kep it is a key to fight the Cambodian gender gap: “We need to fill all educative spaces with the presence of female youth, studying at the side of their male companions, because only in this way, the new generations will learn to deal with the other gender as a pair in everything of the development stream,” he said.
Susan finished with some groups her AutoCad course last week with great satisfaction, as well as her students, who showed their admiration.
Susan led one Good Morning Talking for all the students of Don Bosco Technical School in Sihanoukville. The event, that is a daily activity of the school, became very special for the preparation by Susan. Here some of her talks before the activity:
Tomorrow morning I’m also going to do a talk to the students. Yesterday evening I finished preparing it. I made 3 posters about the 3 topics (which I think are important for them to know in life) I want to share with the students. I’m excited about the talk, I want to try to empower them!
The first thing I want to share with them is about “attitude“. I wrote on the poster: You decide! It’s about what happens to you in life you cannot always control, but that you have the power over how to react to it. I want to encourage them to make the best of everything. Don Bosco gives the students a step in the right direction, now it’s up to them to make something from their life! Also I’m going to read some goals for 2015 written by the students themselves in my AutoCAD-lessons in the month of January. I want them to follow their dreams. Also I will tell them this: Often in life it’s not how good you are, but how bad you want it! Fight for things in life! I want to say to them that they mustn’t wait for that good job to come to them, because it doesn’t come by itselves. But that they have to do a lot of effort and write that application letter to the company where they really would like to work.
The second part of my talk will be about “kindness“. I want to say this: Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give. I believe that kindness is in everyone, but it’s a conscious decision to use it! I will tell the students a kind of examples about kindness and about a kindness-challenge I did last year by myself for one month long.
And in the third part of my morning talk I will tell the students: You’re beautiful! Always believe in yourself! I talk to them about that they shouldn’t compare themselves with others. There are always others who are better or more beautiful. But that they are special too! They should do what THEY love and try to become the best of themselves!
I want to tell them to never let anyone bring them down. “It’s not how others look at you, but it’s how you look at yourself that truly matters!” (I like the picture of the little cat who sees a tiger when she looks at herself in the mirror), see the poster.)