Sopheap Chak

Riding the wave of change in Cambodia

Category: Appreciation (page 1 of 2)

Turning 30: My Thirtieth Birthday Celebration  

I got a dream when I turned ten: I wanted to be a doctor. It was just imagination but I wanted to be a famous doctor in Cambodia and if possible in the world to cure poor people. As I am a left-handed person, I wished that I could use this left hand to cure people effectively.

Then my dream changed. When I turned twenty I started an internship with a civil society organization. This was the pathway that totally changed my vision. Ten years later, I am obsessed with civil society work and social media platforms, and I have realized that this is who I want to be, not the doctor I had dreamt to become.

However, putting my life-path back to the intersection where I turned my back to a medical doctor career, probably other scenario could have happened. I might have been satisfied with myself or not, but I keep joking about that: probably those who know me now would have been my clients for medical service, or maybe we would have not met in this life-path.

At the end of this month, I will turn 30—an age when you could feel that you are getting old, but I would say the age when “I grow up.” My dream has not really changed. As quoted by Banyan Blog:

As a child, she once dreamed of being a doctor, to serve the poor, but now her dream is to help create a freer, more open and just Cambodia.

I now have a wish to celebrate my 30th birthday: that you all join my cause to empower others to grow up. In 2014, I launched with the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) the pilot “Empowering Cloghers Project”. Through the microgrant support from the Global Voice Online we strengthened the online presence and influence of female university students from rural Cambodia by enabling them to become Cloghers– and to become active online. Cloghers are Cambodian bloggers – locally known as “cloggers” – who are women, thus “cloghers”. My wish is to empower 30 more cloghers and I would like to see my friends to be active citizens and to join my cause by contributing to support this idea. We need to collect roughly US$3000.

I will start collecting my birthday gift from now until 30th March when I will really turn 30. Gift me with three numbered—which could be $3 or $30 or more—for “My Thirtieth Birthday Celebration”!

Your gift will be properly collected, recorded and managed with transparency and accountability. Click here to gift me.

Alternatively, please contact me via chaksopheap@gmail.com for any inquiry about this cause or way of donation.

 

My Birthday Cause for Kantha Bopha Hospital

These few days, I have been back and forth to hospital to see my newly born niece who had health problem and she was advised for operation. It was a critical moment for our family to bear the pain of this little girl. Her operation has been completed and she is okay now although doctor requires following up her condition still.

I thought the moment our family is burden is that tough, but when you would expose to other child’s condition at the hospital especially the newly born up to one-month old baby who were placed at a large room together, while two babies may share the same bed altogether, the moment was even more trouble-some. You would hear different stories: a child was left out by her mum who has never now returned to take care of him, yet thank to hospital profession for continuing taking care of him and even hiring the baby-sitter to ensure his condition is watched out closely like other child who is accompanied by mother or both parents. Suddenly, you would hear other story: a mum was crying loudly while her kid was already gone given that his/her condition was serious and doctor could no longer assist him/her (I dared not even look at the scene but only hear the cry of the mother). You would see other scenario where the mother has to stay fully at hospital alone (while my sister would be accompanied by her husband and also an often visit by me) and could not even afford to a mobile phone and she would need to get out hospital to give a call by using paid call service to her husband (who maybe on job-mission of income generation). This are few examples where I have been exposed to amid other poor and venerable parents would have been relying to the effort of the hospital who hardly bear the cost of the service, building, and other associated cost to doctors etc.

Wait, I have not yet named out that hospital and I am sure this is not new to all of you: It is Kantha Bopha Hospital. This hospital offers a free of charge medical service to the families in Cambodia who are simply too poor to even make a small contribution for the service. According to the hospital source, without this hospital, 3,200 additional children would die in Cambodia every month. The figure is quite shocking amid the fact that the hospital sometime and recently has faced financial crisis to sustain its operation. I was glad that at least I jointly with other fellows to contribute to the cause during that time. But, the moment even convinced me that more continuing effort from each of us would ensure children access to health service.

I therefore wrote this piece, not merely to thank to the hospital for professionally taking care of my niece, but also to encourage all of you to make a contribution to the hospital so that this could be partly ensure its sustainability that ultimately help surviving many poor and vulnerable kids in Cambodia.

To make direct donation you could go to the foundation website directly but you could also join my cause here:

From now up to 30 March 2014, please jointly celebrate my 29th year old by gifting me $1 each or more so that the sum will be contributed to Foundation Childrens Hospitals Kantha Bopha. Please contact me via chaksopheap@gmail.com for any inquiry about this cause or way of donation.

Smile with Young Volunteers at BlogFest Asia 2012

As an individual blogger, an excited moment for me personally is when meeting with other bloggers to exchange dialogue on internet freedom while I have never ever thought that I have been taken my role as a participant for granted to interact more with other participants that this would hardly be possible if I would be taking a role as an organizer. I have realized that I have been missing my privilege role to interact with great bloggers from the region when I actively engaged as one of main organizers to host BlogFest Asia 2012 that gathered around 200 individuals from several Asian countries from November 1st to 5th, 2012. This third BlogFest, held this time in the historic town of Siem Reap, was earlier held in Hong Kong in 2009 and later in Penang, Malaysia in 2010. The rational of organizing this BlogFest is to offer a venue where people actively share information about media and technology.

However, a great privilege for me to gain and this has been strongly convinced a worth time for me in this role was the fact that I could work closely with young volunteers whose passion with initiative, talent with pride, energy with a sense of humor has filled with hope and put a smile on my face all the time [probably some who met me during the BlogFest may not notice my smile, but I had a hidden smile in my heart if this may have not explicitly shown publicly].

Passion with initiative: I have been inspired in the way that young volunteers had invested their time in arranging and providing their service accordingly to their assigned role ranging from registration, minute taken, social media, and logistic arrangement [it shall be noted that once should talk with our logistic volunteer who had smartly managed his role perfectly while he only sit still at the desk].

They did not wait to follow instruction, but they initiated the way they would handle their role. A young man came to me and another organizer who managed the list of participants for registration, after the pre-event arrangement meeting, asking for the update list of participants in soft copy so that he can make an order in the list in his own way to smooth out the registration process.

Talent with pride: Not only great passion and initiative in work, these young volunteers have not been shy away in showing their potential talent [which I had to admit that I had to push through myself many time, when I was in the same age like them, in order to stand up to show my hidden talent if I may had].

I was mute when a 15-year-old man came to me while I was moderating the MC stage during a dinner gathering of roughly 200 people including Asian and Westerners and only after few foreign participants showed their guitar and music skills, he said: Sister, I will play guitar and sing a song called, Tear of a Gangster Child. I have to be proud to show Khmers talent in this international stage too.

I thought he just make a joke with me, but he did it and I was listening with sense of pride. I miss the record during that day, but later I capture this one during our working break:

Energy with sense of humor: Regardless how busy and tiring days we had, these young never complaint that this was a tiring day for them, yet they even could manage to play hard after the each day of the event. Pub-street, a well-known nighttime gathering for local and international tourist in Siem Reap where full of club and restaurants, was filled up by most of BlogFest Asia 2012 participants including our volunteers throughout the days of event. I spent the last night of the event with these young. I could not imagine how to have fun with my sex on the beacha favorite cocktail I always orderwithout them, while they shared me a lesson to laugh with drinking. A code among few volunteers who I interacted with most often is a laughing code when counting 1, 2, 3

It shall be noted that this was not the first time for them to volunteer in such event, their face are familiar with many event organization and support including a known blog gathering Barcamp. Wonder who they are, check their bio here.

I must admit that I am inspired to write this post in a personal writing style that I rarely did because of the memorization of their passion with initiative, talent with pride, energy with a sense of humor and I owed them with a thank note to fill up my smile for nearly-end of 2012 and some reflection for my 2013 resolution. Stay-tune next with my resolution blogpost.

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