Sopheap Chak

Riding the wave of change in Cambodia

Category: Community Work (page 2 of 5)

Cambodia: Rising Civic Mobilization

Written by Sopheap Chak

The article has been originally published on FutureChallenges

Soluy Hansen was a young adventurous woman who wondered through life experimenting different things in Cambodia but always believed in the saying that “everything is possible.” One such experiment was living in a pagoda and interacting and spending time in the jungles with monks who enriched her with the Buddhist philosophy and practice. Another was praying with members of a Muslim community at a provincial Mosque which cleared many doubts she had about Muslim religion. She also spent a few months with soldiers at the Preah Vihear province a border area where there were constant conflicts with neighboring Thailand.

All her experiences show that that she was willing to engage in activities which were usually a social taboo. Women in Cambodia are expected to stay at home, not to mention about living in pagoda or with soldiers. Her message to other young women in Cambodia was to get out of the comfort zone in order to learn.

When she spoke at a civic mobilization conference on June 4th, she inspired many others with her experiences. I was also amongst these speakers where I was also given a chance to inspire a great number of audiences; but instead, I felt that I had more inspiration from the other speakers whose personal life stories were very powerful and compelling.

Over the past few years, civic mobilization in Cambodia has gained momentum with the emerging power of digital and social media. Unlike in rice production where farmers awaited the rains for a good yield of crop, the young generations no longer await the initiatives from the government or civil society organizations to yield results.

They are taking their own initiatives through social movements led by youth groups and mobilizing their peers to be the agents of social change for the sake of their country’s well-being. Having attend some of these social movement, it is promising for Cambodia to see many young are very proactive and are willing to sparkle their dream for the country development.

A number of events including TEDx Phnom Penh, KhmerTalks, Cambodia Women in Business, and Barcamp Phnom Penh has been highlighted. Please read more on the original article published on Future Challenges

Explore a Rural Cambodian Community

Get Trapped by Kids’ Smile and Kisses

It was an early morning of Monday 29th Oct 2007, when a group of youths from different institutions gathered in from of the University of Cambodia to depart for exploring a rural Cambodian Community in Kompong Speu province, organized by Youth Network for Change.

After spending about 2-hour drive, we arrived the Orphan Care and Training Organization (OCTO) which is a center helping about 90 orphans whose parents were dying of HIV and these venerable kids are brought from other provinces such as Koh Kong, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and where else. It is located in Deiambel 1 Village, Trengtroyeung commune, Phnomsruoch District, Kampong Speu province.

It was my amazing experience with these kids. Their faces were wearing love and hope. Without delaying, our members choose 3 or 5 kids to set up a group to be able to discuss and help to educate them on health and socio-cultural arena. Then we gathered in a whole group to reflect on our discussion. They are so brave, intelligent and quick learners. They could performed traditional dances and played the jokes very well. Comparing to other kids I have met during the community explorations, I could see the different is that these orphans are taken cared and well-trained. Yet, their teachers are the young voluntarily youths who are still in high school and coming from different provinces. It is another impressive appreciation to them who is devoting their effort and time to help kids.

From this exploration, what impressed me the most and trapped me to plan visiting them again is:

Kids’ warming smile. I have never been asked by kids what my name is! I was so excited. It meant that they were proposing a communication without waiting to be asked. What is more connected to these kids, they treated us like a very-known sisters or brothers. They kept asking us when we would come again to visit them. They leave me kisses which I can say that it was the first kiss I had received without asking (Generally, we always ask kids to kiss us).

At the moment I enjoyed this feeling, I recognized that these orphans needs more cares and love. They were so happy to have us visiting and playing with. I understand how lonely they are. Therefore, I would like appeal to everyone to help to:

“Do Not Discriminate the HIV-infected Kids or Kids whose parents were dying of HIV/AIDs”. They are the same as other normal kids. They have heart and they deserve more care.

“Protect Yourself from HIV/AIDs”. “Do not leave your bad legacy for the burden of your kids”. If it is not for your sack, Please think of our poor kids!!!

Announcement: Trip to Kompong Speu

Dear all,

Youth Network for Change (YNC), a voluntary youth network, would like to invite you to join our trip to Kompong Speu province to distribute the study material to orphans and to engage them to dialogs, so that they experience social discussion and involvement.

Community Event
When: Monday, 29 Oct 2007
Where: Orphan Care and Training Center, Phum I, Khum Treng Trayeung, Srok Phnom Srouch, Kompong Speu province. We will proceed our trip to Kirirom Resort for Lunch.
Who: YNC team and interested participants.
Sponsor: Fund raising.

I would be appreciate for your kind contributions either financial, material, and spiritual support to make this event possible. Please feel free to contact me or my team for furthered detail of our work. I also provide you the background of our team.

Bests Regards,

Sopheap Chak
Public Relation Officer,
Tel: 855-011 943 213
Youth Network for Change (YNC)

Background of Youth Network for Change (YNC):

The Youth Network for Change was established in 2006 to counteract these trends by facilitating dynamic social development in Cambodia’s poorest regions. Through outreach programs, cultural exchanges, and educational initiatives, we hope to lift rural Cambodian youth out of poverty and into sustainable careers.
We envision a Cambodian society fueled by knowledge and compassion, wherein all Cambodians have access to life-enhancing opportunities.
In working closely with rural communities, we equip disadvantaged Cambodian children with the practical knowledge, skills, and goals to make empowering life decisions.
· To foster educational outreach by procuring study materials to underprivileged youths, and by educating them in the prominent social and ethical issues of our time.
· To strengthen communication between teenagers, young children, and their communities.
· To encourage young people to reflect on their ability to facilitate positive social change.
Community Event brings students from various universities to distribute study materials to rural children, to educate them the social matters, and to guide them in envisioning their future. This also aims to help urban university youth understand agrarian livelihoods, to contribute to the educational needs of rural students, and to engage in cultural exchange.
Normally, there are around 30-50 youths from various universities attending the programs. Youth Network for Change utilizes a discussion model during events in which university students disseminate in groups educational, cultural and social issues.
The Network has conducted seven events in Kompong Speu, Koh Kong, Takeo, Prey Veng, and Ratanakirri.
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