Advocate for Women and Maternity

Sous Sreylen, 31, has worked for Coca-Cola Company at Special Economic Zone in Phnom Penh for about six years. She has two children, 6-year-old and one-year-old, and is currently four months pregnant with her third child. Before working at Coca Cola, Sreylen was a chef assistant in a restaurant in Phnom Penh and then worked as a garment worker for about one year.

It has been five years since Sreylen has obtained and enjoyed the National Social Protection Fund (NSSF) benefits through which she can have access to free health care and treatment. Because of her other prioritized expenses, including her children's school fees, water and electricity fees, and food, Sreylen tries to avoid spending money on medical bills.

Being covered by NSSF, as a pregnant woman, Sreylen can ensure that her pregnancy is healthy for both mother and the baby. "Before I had the NSSF card, I did not dare go to the hospital unless I had a severe illness. Now I feel more comfortable going for check-ups if I feel sick," she said. "I feel safer because I know NSSF would cover the medical cost for me," she said. Besides the benefits from NSSF, Sreylen added that "the company provides us daily's two ways transportation, accommodation, additional 80$ for nursing and childcare until the child turns three-year-old."

Sreylen has been a Cambodian Food Service Workers' Federation (CFSWF) member for three years. She attended various workshops and training, which focused on nursing, maternal, newborn and child health.

In addition to capacity building and raising awareness of social protection and gender issues, Sreylen said the union also helps workers to have decent work and income security. "Through collective action to bargain with the employers, we receive the benefits we deserve," Sreylen said. She added, "There were cases where the employers unreasonably fired employees. We fought against them and got our members back to work."

Six months ago, she was elected as one of the union leaders representing her workplace. In her new role, Sreylen is committed to gathering and engaging more women to join the union to address appropriately and respond to women's issues. "I'm delighted to be selected as workers' representative. As a woman, I aim to promote women's role and encourage them to stand up for themselves and voice their concerns, and more importantly, to encourage more women to join our unions."