Smile stands to support maternal and child health while improving and building literate environments.
- To improve women’s level of literacy.
- To build literate environments at home and in communities.
- To improve the health condition of mothers and children.
According to UNESCO’s 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report, there are more than 774 million adult illiterates in the world, of whom 64% are women. In the Asia-Pacific region alone, over 505 million adults are illiterate; 66% of those adults are female.
It is widely recognized that if the female literacy rate is low, the infant and maternal mortality rate tends to be high due to the lack of access to knowledge about basic health care and the insufficient health services for mothers and children.
The SMILE Asia Project is a unique project in Cambodia. In particular, it targets illiterate and neo-literate mothers who have influential roles in families and communities. In 2012, 165 women enrolled in the program.
The practical literacy skills they learn not only include how to read and write, but also how to understand their PIN cards, recipes, income and expenditure check lists, children’s follow up books from school and medical prescriptions.
CWDA help to form mother’s groups in the target communities to create a forum for the women to discuss and share experiences and promote community cohesion. These groups have proven to be an empowering tool for local women.
ACCU also provide gift packages for each of the learners that include a pen, notebook, soap, a towel, a Khmer alphabet poster and reading materials related to childcare.
“I dropped out of school and forgot the alphabet, after I attended in the SMILE class for 2 years I remember everything. I can read, write and teach my children. I meet my friends and other mothers in the SMILE class and get knowledge about healthcare, agriculture and other subjects. I receive enough learning material but I want to learn more now. I want this project to continue forever.” -Yang Botum, Tropaing Chork
“I attend the class and the monthly meetings to discuss mother and child health problems and prevention. I want to thank SMILE for teaching me; now my family has good health and less illness. We have saved money we used to spend on medicine.” -Eng Van Nak, Prey Veng