Girls Lead the Way in Cambodia


In ethnic minority communities in Cambodia’s remote northeast province of Ratanakiri, heavy housework demands and classes taught in a language that children did not understand led to a large number of girls dropping out of school. Over the last decade, CARE has committed to expanding educational opportunities in the region to give these girls a second chance.

Through CARE education and youth empowerment programs in Ratanakiri communities, parents attend meetings with teachers to discuss the importance of education and how to encourage girls to return to school. In addition, fathers are now playing an important role in supporting regular school attendance by letting boys and girls share housework equally, which has lessened the domestic workload on their daughters and has provided an opportunity for girls to attend school.

CARE’s programs in Ratanakiri also promoted bilingual education to improve the quality of instruction and open educational opportunities for more children in this region. Before, classes were not taught in the children’s mother tongue, resulting in many children dropping out of school because they couldn’t understand the lessons and were afraid to speak up.

More and more girls are going back to school and now have access to high quality and equitable education due to CARE’s work in this region. Girls’ lives are being changed with these new opportunities, and they are leading the way in their communities in fighting both poverty and gender inequity.

To learn more about CARE’s work in Cambodia, visit

By: Hongying Li, CARE USA Education Team