The Messenger Band, a garment worker girl band, grew from Womyns’ Agenda for Change (WAC)’s long engagement in the self determination building among Cambodian garment workers. WAC’s approach has been to expose and conscientious women workers in order for them to fully participate and determine their paths as a collective to bring positive change to workers as a social group and more broadly to challenge on gender stereo type, discrimination and violence in society.
Apart from traditional forms of communication and learning, workers have seen through their exposure elsewhere the power of song. Furthermore, workers (MB) have been involved in data collections about working conditions, family life and migrant women’s problems; partly this information is utilized for research, advocacy and awareness raising activities. In addition the content of these stories (oral histories) form the themes of the songs, expressing emotional issues as well as messages of oppression, hope and change.
Initially the Messenger Band comprised of seven members that WAC selected from the women garment factory workers in August 2005. Two years later, in August 2007, some members left the band and another round of selection was conducted and five more members joined the remaining three members. Messenger Band has a full time coordinator and five regular members. The band is the first all female social activist folk group in the history of Cambodia.
The messenger Band envision a society where vulnerable group, especially women, are supported by public services, treated with respect and dignity and have the opportunity to equally participate in society free from discrimination.
• To give a voice through song to vulnerable groups and to raise awareness about the issue they face among the public.
• To motivate people to reduce social discrimination.
• To help to bring about positive change in society to end violence, exploitation and human abuse.
• The Messenger Band does not support any political party. It believes in working cooperatively for positive change.