Cambodia: In their own words

Eleonore Bridier Cambodia

In 2015, we worked with our teams in Cambodia to gather real stories from our clients. We wanted to find out how people are affected by our work, and educate others about what we do on the ground – putting women and our clients at the centre of the story.

We joined outreach teams as they rumbled over dusty dirt tracks in 4x4s, spoke to young people hanging out in bustling cities, and saw women learn about contraception on their lunch breaks.

While there is still so much to do to ensure women across the world have equal opportunities and choices when it comes to their health, we are steadily changing things. Don’t just take our word for it though; watch these stories from our clients, told in their own words.

Inside the garment factories

Savy lives with her husband and daughter in a village on the edge of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital city. For the past eight years, she’s been working in a garment factory as a seamstress.

Like many garment factory workers, Savy had difficulty trying to access her preferred choice of contraception, until Marie Stopes Cambodia started providing information sessions and reproductive health services in her workplace.

Now Marie Stopes Cambodia has introduced Partnering to Save Lives – a partnership with CARE, Save the Children, the Cambodian Ministry of Health and Australian Aid – to continue to address the barriers many other garment workers still face across the country.

Better access is better for everyone

Increasing access doesn’t just benefit women; it impacts their families, communities, and workplaces. We found out more about these far-reaching benefits from speaking to factory employers.

Sophea is one of the few female human resource managers working in a Phnom Penh factory. She is passionate about ensuring her employees have access to affordable and safe contraception.

In fact, she helped introduce Partnering to Save Lives into her factory. As a result, not only are her employees happier, healthier and more empowered with choices over their own bodies and lives, Sophea has also seen a productivity increase within the factory.

Here Sophea explains why she believes these services are vital.

Em Sreymom and the call centre

The dedicated staff members at Marie Stopes Cambodia reach young people through a call centre – a confidential line where women receive free counselling, get information and service referrals.

Em Sreymom manages the call centre for Marie Stopes Cambodia, and she hears from young people every day who want accurate information about sexual health, but can’t talk about it openly.

Sex and sexuality remain taboo topics of conversation in Cambodia, but things are slowly changing. Young people are increasingly demanding more information and believe in their right to it.

Hear these young Cambodians reveal what they really talk about, and what they want for their futures.

Training public healthcare providers in Cambodia

Eng Pov heads up a rural public health facility in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. Along with Sokly, a midwife, they provide high-quality sexual and reproductive health services to women in the area, and have noticed an increasing demand from women to limit and space the number of children they have.

In order to meet growing demand, two things need to happen – providers must be trained in a full range of contraceptive methods, and they must have a reliable supply of contraception for women. Watch this short clip to see how Marie Stopes Cambodia’s partnership with the Ministry of Health is widening women’s access to voluntary contraception.


Dalin is a midwife who has received training from Marie Stopes Cambodia. She runs a small, private pharmacy and clinic with her sister on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Many Cambodians receive basic healthcare – including contraception – from private providers like Dalin. However, unlike Dalin, many private pharmacy owners are untrained in most contraceptive methods, and only offer a few short-term methods such as condoms and pills, often without counselling.

Watch Dalin as she receives training in long-acting methods like IUDs and implants, and hear why this is so important to her.

Sroun’s story

Sroun lives in a remote village in Kratie, a province in Northeast Cambodia. She belongs to one of the many indigenous groups in rural Cambodia, and depends on public health facilities to access contraception and other health services.

Most rural indigenous women in Cambodia are extremely poor, and even travelling short distances can be prohibitively expensive. Hear from Sroun about why access to contraception is critical for her and her family, and how Marie Stopes Cambodia is working to provide better access to sexual and reproductive health services.

At Marie Stopes International we believe it’s a fundamental human right to have choice over your sexual and reproductive health. Although we don’t believe that choice should be curtailed by where you live, what gender you are, or how much money you have, that’s the reality for many of the women we work with.

Women like Sroun, Salome and Zayanna.

All of these women’s stories illustrate how important both your and our support is, and how we must continue to protect their access to life-saving services.

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