ABOUT US$25,000 was raised by last week’s charity Orchid Day event organised by Hagar Cambodia, an international Christian organisation that supports domestically abused women and children.
The eighty guests of the evening included members of the Royal Family and staff of NGOs and ministries. They enjoyed a fashion show modelled by victims of domestic violence and canapés provided by Hagar Catering.
Sponsors of the evening included Perfect Skin Lab, Silk and Pepper, Lili Perles and CST, who also provided the jewellery and dresses worn by the models. The guests could choose between a collection of products presented by the sponsors, the revenue of which will partly be donated to the organisation.
Besides raising money to provide more women with the possibility of participating in Hagar’s shelter programme, the hosts urged guests to increase awareness of domestic violence instead of being ignorant.
“We have to encourage conversations about domestic violence,” explained Rémie Fujiwara, of the organising team, “especially because Cambodian women are not yet strong enough to stand up and speak out by themselves.”
CEO of Hagar Cambodia, Talmage Payne, criticised the many excuses found by bystanders to justify non-intervention, in Cambodia most often the excuse of poverty. “Poverty does not rape, poverty does not abuse,” he reminded those present.
That Hagar helps abused women to break the cycle of violence and speak out became clear when the seemingly self-confident women took to the stage to model cocktail and evening dresses. “Your silence cannot help you to escape from violence,” appealed one of the models to women suffering from domestic abuse.
According to Hagar´s CEO, the yearly event is also a way of saying thank you to those supporting Hagar, to deepen co-operation with lawyers, security firms and embassies and to present results achieved. Rémie Fujiwara hoped to encourage more Cambodians to attend next year.
Orchid Day, the Cambodian version of White Ribbon Day, aims to raise awareness about domestic violence.