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Oeun Vichara

Garment factory nurse, Cambodia

"If a women has no family planning and has an unwanted pregnancy, she could decide not to keep the baby and get an unsafe abortion."

Oeun Vichara is a nurse at the Grand Textile Factory in Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh.

Alongside offering basic nursing services, Vichara’s job is to let the hundreds of female workers at the factory know about family planning, and help them access contraceptives.

“The women who make the clothes at this factory rely on the money they earn here to support their families. They can’t afford to take time out if they fall pregnant. They need the money to feed the children they have at home.”

Most of the factory’s predominately female workers have never accessed contraception before, or received any reliable information about it. So when they come to see Vichara, she takes time to carefully talk through the range of methods on offer, and points them towards the nearest clinic where they can access safe and reliable services.

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"When a worker comes to see me, we talk about the different ways they can prevent unwanted pregnancy. For married people they are interested to get the family planning service and counselling. Single people are also interested when I tell them the pill doesn’t only help to prevent pregnancy but can also regulate your period.

"After this, I refer women to the nearest quality clinic where they can obtain short or long-term contraception. And we give them $3 to pay for their transport to help them get there."

Reaching out to marginalised women

Vichara has received training from Marie Stopes Cambodia, as part of a targeted project to increase access to contraception in the country.

90% of Cambodia’s 650,000 garment factory workers are women, and many live in poor, marginalised communities. By training nurses like Vichara, we’re investing in new ways to reach them, so they can find out about family planning and get hold of contraception more easily.

I feel motivated to do this work, to keep working here at the factory, because I believe in family planning and the difference it can make to women’s lives.

Vichara is passionate about her job and sharing knowledge with the women at the factory. She has helped 100 women access family planning in less than a year, and believes that for many women learning about these services, and starting to use contraception, can be life-changing.

"If a women has no family planning and has an unwanted pregnancy, she could decide not to keep the baby and get an unsafe abortion. She could die while she does this. Or if she keeps the baby, her livelihood will be worse, and the kid who is born will not get a good future.

"That’s why I feel motivated to do this work, to keep working here at the factory, because I believe in family planning and the difference it can make to women’s lives."

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