As societies evolve, the difficulties that young people face – and the social support they need – change accordingly. For example, today’s youth in Cambodia have to deal with a number of challenges, including:

  • Scholastic and peer pressure
  • Family breakdowns or abuse
  • Toxic living environments
  • Social and cultural changes
  • The risks connected to the misuse of social networks
  • Difficulties in managing emotions and expectations
  • The pyschological and emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Social Support Department of Phare Ponleu Selpak addresses the fundamental and most sensitive needs of the students, and in the immediate period after the pandemic, started providing a revamped Life Skills & Resilience-Building program implemented by Matteo F. and Lay L.

Social Support workshops offering a life skills class

Resilience is the human capacity to face, overcome, and be strengthened by the unforeseen events of life. Despite different cultural frames, resilience is a universal capacity that allows a person to prevent, minimize, or overcome the damaging effects of adversity. Building strong resilience skills within the first period of life permits children, adolescents, and young adults to overpass traumas and deal with the most stressful times that new generations are facing.

The main goal of these life skills workshops is to create a safe space where young people can learn how to accept and normalize errors and then bounce back from unexpected setbacks. In the meantime, these social support workshops recalibrate the nature of the relationship between teachers and students, making adults facilitators and role models.

The workshop curriculum provides the student the ability to cope with adversities, set up their personal goals while enhancing their leadership skills, handle group dynamics, teamwork, and social pressure, and strengthen their self-esteem.

During the months of April and May, Phare Ponleu Selpak provided 10 training sessions to students between 15 and 26 years old. Sessions were also held for the kindergarten teachers including different entertaining activities to communicate the information in an age-appropriate way. More social support trainings are planned for the rest of the year, while the life skills curriculum will become an integral part of the arts programming as part of Phare Ponleu Selpak’s move towards more holistic arts education.


Help more students in Battambang develop the resilience and life skills they need to succeed in today’s world: Make a financial contribution to Phare Ponleu Selpak and empower youth to face tomorrow’s challenges.