Did you know that every time you have a visit with a specialist at Femwell you are not only investing in your own health, but also in the health of women and children across the world? At Femwell we highly value community and we believe that strong women lift each other up. We aim to make an impact in our local community here in the United States, but also overseas where many women lack access to basic healthcare and education.
This is why we have chosen to send 5% of proceeds from all visits at Femwell to our non-profit partner clinic in Cambodia, Together We Serve- Women’s Health & Children’s Centre.
Cambodia is a small country in Southeast Asia that experienced one of the largest and most recent mass genocides in the world. In the late 1970s nearly ¼ of the country’s population was brutally killed by the communist Khmer Rouge party in an attempt to create a classless society. Doctors, healthcare providers, teachers, lawyers, law enforcement, clergy, minorities, anyone with an education, and anyone who seemed to pose a threat to the Khmer Rouge’s goal of achieving an agrarian socialist state were executed. By the end of the 4 year regime, approximately 2 million men, women, and children innocently lost their lives to starvation, disease, murder, and torture in concentration camps.
Although Cambodia has shown incredible strength and resilience through ongoing strides to rebuild their infrastructure, the country still remains deeply affected by the bone chilling event that took place less than 50 years ago.
…An event that separated family units, villages, and entire communities- leaving thousands displaced as orphans.
…An event that has led to ongoing poverty and governmental corruption- contributing to the country’s devastating child sex trafficking epidemic.
…An event that wiped out their entire educational and healthcare systems- leading to a high number of preventable diseases and deaths today.
After enduring such a tragic event and the traumatizing aftermath of refugee camps and resettlement, it is estimated that 40% of the Cambodian population suffers from mental health issues and approximately 14% of Cambodians have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Why Together We Serve- Women’s Health & Children’s Centre?
Cambodia has made tremendous strides in improving healthcare in the last decade. However, many women still lack access to basic health services and suffer at the hand of preventable conditions. Much of the population lives in rural areas, while access to healthcare is concentrated in the capital city. In 2012, there were only 1.4 healthcare workers per 1,000 people. As a result, conditions that are easily identified and treated in developed countries, such as anemia, contribute to maternal-related conditions being the leading cause of death among women in Cambodia.
Femwell, in partnership with Together We Serve, aims to bridge this gap. Nearly 10 years ago while on a mission trip to Cambodia, Femwell’s founder and director, Dr. Alyssa Brussee, met a midwife, Bora, who she has stayed in contact with and visited throughout the years. During the business development phase of Femwell, Alyssa and her team were actively looking for a way to use their skills and resources to impact women across the world who lack access to basic healthcare. During a recent phone conversation with Bora, Alyssa learned that she resigned from her job to start a women’s health and children’s centre in Cambodia- launching Together We Serve the very same month as Femwell. After hearing Bora’s mission and vision for Together We Serve, it was abundantly clear that it was exactly the outreach Femwell wanted to support.
As someone who was originally forced to quit school in just the 7th grade in order to work to help provide for her family, Bora felt called to start Together We Serve in a small village outside Cambodia’s capital to provide healing and hope to women who lack access to basic healthcare and children who lack access to education. She believes that health and education have the power to completely transform the trajectory of one’s life, and thus the future of Cambodia. Together We Serve will offer women’s health services including gynecological and wellness check-ups, prenatal care, labor and delivery care, women’s health education, and mental health services. Together We Serve will also have a library and simple educational programming for children who do not have the ability to attend school.
One small centre in Cambodia for women and children could mean an education (and thus a well-paying job), protection against sexual exploitation, prevention of death from treatable diseases, healthy pregnancies, and safe childbirths. In short, it could save the lives and change the futures of countless women and children.
Thank you for partnering with us to bring hope and healing to communities across the world. Follow along on Femwell’s blog for ongoing updates on the most recent happenings from Bora.
Together, we can make a difference.
De Jong, J. (Ed.). (2002). Trauma, war, and violence: Public mental health in socio-cultural context. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1007/b109606
Heuveline, Patrick (2001). "The Demographic Analysis of Mortality Crises: The Case of Cambodia, 1970–1979". Forced Migration and Mortality. National Academies Press. pp. 102–105. ISBN 978-0-309-07334-9.
Kobashi Y, Chou K, Slaiman N, et al. Improving the Rural-Urban Balance in Cambodia’s Health Services. Int J Health Policy Manag. Published online July 26, 2020:1. doi:10.34172/ ijhpm.2020.136
Sonis J, Gibson JL, de Jong JT, Field NP, Hean S, Komproe I. Probable posttraumatic stress disorder and disability in Cambodia: associations with perceived justice, desire for revenge, and attitudes toward the Khmer Rouge trials. JAMA. 2009;302(5):527-536. doi:10.1001/ jama.2009.1085