MasterCard Empowers Cambodian Women to Make a Livelihood

MasterCard Empowers Cambodian Women to Make a Livelihood

MasterCard Worldwide teamed up with the Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to sponsor 10 young women for a training program that teaches sewing skills and basic education on setting up a business. The program, part of the Hotel de la Paix Sewing Training Centre Program, also includes basics on financial literacy to help the women learn to manage their finances.

In addition to sewing, students also learn English, and receive a sewing machine and start-up kit of materials upon graduation so that they can return to their villages and start their own businesses.

Opportunity to Receive Training
The students are between the ages of 16 and 22. Many of them come from outside of Siem Reap where opportunities to receive training or employment are lacking. These women usually find work on local construction sites, earning around US$1 per day for 16 hours of labor. The initiative seeks to provide them with the skills to make a living, so that they are not subjected to working in environments which are unsafe and unsuitable.

“Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 30 percent of the population still living in extreme poverty. In addition, women are disadvantaged as they do not enjoy equal access to education and paid employment. We commend the efforts of Hotel de la Paix in helping these women and are glad to be contributing to this initiative. This initiative is part of our broader commitment to women’s advancement and we look forward to helping even more women,” says Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

This is the second program in which MasterCard has worked with Hotel de la Paix, the first being its ‘Pushbike’ initiative. The ‘Pushbike’ initiative provides bicycles to needy children from outlying villages to give them an easier and faster way to go to school. MasterCard donated a bicycle for every room paid for with a MasterCard card for the period of September to December 2008, contributing close to 400 bikes.

MasterCard’s Initiatives to Empower Women
Other initiatives which MasterCard has pioneered in its commitment to empower women and promote their socio-economic standing in the society include the MasterCard-U21 Global sponsorship program, Buy to Save Campaign with UNIFEM and Go Red For Women presented by MasterCard

The MasterCard-U21Global scholarship program was launched in 2006 to empower women executives through education to realize their full potential. It comprises 20 annual scholarships for the U21Global Postgraduate Diploma of Business Administration.

The Go Red For Women presented by MasterCard involved ten designers from across South East Asia creating ten red dresses that were auctioned with proceeds being donated to the Singapore Heart Foundation. MasterCard has also supported the Payatas women project in the Philippines through the Rags2Riches social entrepreneurship program, which aims to give the women at the Payatas dumpsite in the Philippines a chance to get their wares sold directly in the market, enabling them to make a fair profit.

To raise public awareness around violence to women, MasterCard worked with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to support its 2009 Buy To Save charity sale in Singapore. Jointly organized by UNIFEM Singapore, MasterCard and luxury retailer Club 21, the charity sale offered a collection of gently-used designer items donated by the fashion-savvy.

MasterCard was a sponsor and also donated S$2 to UNIFEM for every transaction made with a MasterCard card at the event. Plus, our staff donated their time to work behind the cash registers at the sale. The event garnered UNIFEM over S$85,000.

Read more about MasterCard in our communities