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Lina a beer promoter to a trainer of the group of women 

Lina moved to Phnom Penh from Kompong Thom province to look for work.  Her first job was serving as a waitress who worked as a beer promoter in the Old market beer garden.  As a beer promoter, Lina encountered the typical problems beer promoters face. Usually, beer garden or club owners are reluctant to offer beer promoters legal labour contracts. Without any legally binding employment contract they are taken advantage of.  They are exploited financially, they have no job security and can be fired without any compensation or explanation. Female beer promoters also suffer inevitable harassment by drunk guests who treat any women working in a beer drinking place as one with no morals.     

In July 2019, friends of hers participated in an educational session mounted by people from Solidarity Association of Beer Promotion Women in Cambodia (SABC) and were overwhelmed by the information and knowledge they received.  They could not believe that they had not known about the existence of the organization that caters for their interests.  The SABC organization gives a voice to Beer Promotion Women to advocate for positive change in their working lives among stakeholders such as the Government, beer companies and policy implementers to promote human rights, health, and dignity of Beer Promotion Women in the public and workplace.  The organisation represents and works with all of its members and strategic partners to achieve equality, justice, and dignity for Beer Promotion Women.   

After the narration she decided to get in touch with SABC.  She learnt that SABC provides information and skills training to Beer Promotion Women and their partners and families to bring positive change to the social perspective and to improve policies for beer promotion work.  The organization advocates for the Beer Promotion women among stakeholders to improve the sustainability and livelihoods of Beer Promotion Women in the present and future.  Among the messages Beer Promotion Women received touched on health, HIV and sexual harassment and gender-based violence.  The organization facilitates a 3-day life skills session covering gender, gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health, basic workplace rights for women and the impact of excessive alcohol consumption. Lina did not need any more persuasion and inquired when the next training would be mounted.  She made the decision to attend the next session right there and then.  

Lina attended the training session and learnt how to protect herself from harassment and what she could do if it happened.  SABC also asked her If she had a strong interest in all the sessions and the work they do.   Lina was willing and was offered the chance to become a volunteer for the association.  With time she was exposed to capacity building sessions and she grew to become more confident and strong.  Lina got to understand much better about her labor rights and gained awareness of how she could use this knowledge and demand her rights.  She became brave and daring in advocating her opinion and raising her voice.  Lina became a community resource and shares her understanding and pieces of knowledge gained from the training with her peers whenever she has a chance.  

After two years of joining SABC, She was given opportunities to work as a trainer for other female beer promoters as well.  She had transformed from a vulnerable beer promoter to a labour and human rights activist ensuring that beer promoters like her are not harassed, exploited financially and treated as sex objects by the employers or the clients.  The transformed Lina was able to say,     

“And what I enjoy most is being able to stand in front of and share useful knowledge with other women. I also have the opportunity to attend meetings with other organizations and with the relevant ministries.” 

Lina views the job of women in the entertainment services (beer promoter) as ordinary and legal while the same is frowned upon by the community. She wants to make other beer promoters understand the value of their job and to value them as well as accord them respect as well as earn respect from the surrounding. With bits of help from SABC, Lina is hopeful that she can lend a helping hand to other female beer promoters to improve their understanding of their rights and protection.  

“I am finally trained to be a strong woman who dares to face all problems no matter what happened to myself or members, I seek a solution that is in accordance with the law.” 

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