Chanda*, 18, is a young garment worker in Phnom Penh who had to make a terrible choice when the myths she believed led to serious consequences. Thanks to CARE’s Chat! Contraception package, which was available in her factory through support from GSK, she will not have to face this again.
“I live in a rented room near the factory with my boyfriend. I never used to use contraception with my boyfriend because my friend told me that when women use these it may be difficult to get back our fertility and have babies in the future. When I heard this I was very scared, so I decided not to use anything to prevent pregnancy.”
Misinformation like this is not uncommon; many women like Chanda make decisions about their health based on inaccurate information and then have to suffer the consequences. It did not take Chanda long to realise she was pregnant.
“I felt embarrassed because I am not yet married and it was difficult to know what to do, but I decided to terminate it. My friend told me to buy an abortion pill from a pharmacy near the factory. “Taking the abortion pill was horrible. I had a lot of pain in my stomach and I was bleeding. I was so scared. I called my boyfriend he wanted to take me to the health centre and but I didn’t want to see anyone.”
The experience was something Chanda never wants to repeat. Fortunately, she was able to join Chat! Contraception sessions, which allowed her to learn accurate information about how to prevent unplanned pregnancies. This helped to dispel the myths and rumours spread by her friend, so Chanda could make an informed choice about her health and her relationship.
“I had the opportunity to learn about all different contraceptive methods and their side effects. Now I feel confident and I can make my own decision to use contraception by myself without any concerns.
“I am still in a relationship with my boyfriend. Now, I don’t have to worry I will repeat the horrible experience from before because I am using the contraceptive pill to prevent myself from becoming pregnant. If and when we choose to have children in the future, we can plan for this properly.”
Chat! Contraception has reached more than 10,000 workers in Cambodia but this is still a small fraction of the women who could benefit from it the way Chanda has. With support from GSK’s 20% Reinvestment Initiative, CARE is bringing Chat! Contraception to more factories in Phnom Penh so that as many women as possible are empowered to make healthy choices about their futures.
*Names changed to protect identities
Chat! Contraception was created by CARE Cambodia with funding from the Australian Government as part of Partnering to Save Lives. It is implemented in 15 additional garment factories with the financial support of GlaxoSmithKline.