Scholarship Program Empowers Rural Cambodian Women

September 2010

Four women recently completed their first year of study supported by the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) law school scholarship for young women from rural areas of Cambodia. Each of the scholarship recipients attends theEnglish language-based bachelors of law program at the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The English-language program is the most prestigious law program in the country and its graduates are afforded the best opportunities for employment.Traditionally, the number of rural women in the program, and at RULE generally,has been very low, primarily due to limited housing options in Phnom Penh. The university does not provide living space, and it is culturally inappropriate for rural women contrary to men to rent their own flat or to stay in a local pagoda.

The scholarship program, which will fund their tuition through graduation, was created to complement programs recently developed to provide rural women with a place to live while studying at RULE. In 2009, the four scholarship recipients were: Chun Sotheary, whose favorite subject is public international law; Sorn Soma Thia, who prefers civil law; and Hing Vandanet and Thy Kunthea, both of whom enjoy studying human rights. Each is the first in their respectivefamilies to attend university, and each has a grade-point average of 3.0 orbetter and Hing Vandanet is a straight-A student.

In Cambodia, ABA ROLI works in partnership with the East-West ManagementInstitute (EWMI) under the Program on Rights and Justice II, a cooperative agreement between EWMI and the United States Agency for International Development.

For more information about the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s work in Cambodia, contact us at rol@staff.abanet.org.

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