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A Voice for Cambodia’s Youth

Dare to Write

Source: RFA

An ardent Cambodian writer strives to relay an independent view and calls on youth to do the same. 

Chak Sopheap, 25, holds a Master’s Degree in Peace Relations from
the International University of Japan and has published
English-language articles on the international website Global Voices
Online, focusing on corruption, the democratic process, and freedom of
expression. She also works with the Cambodian Center for Human Rights
and is a founder of Youth Network for Change, a voluntary group
dedicated to social change through participation in community events
and youth camping.  Born in Cambodia’s Kompong Cham province, she now
lives in Phnom Penh with her parents and siblings.
 

 “I am very much interested in writing the way researchers do—not
leaning toward any one group in civil society or in human rights. I
like to write to express the viewpoint of an independent researcher … I
have noticed that a lot of people are interested in what I’ve written
for Global Voices Online. People from Bangladesh, France, and Russia
have translated them into their own languages and have contacted me in
person to learn about the situation in Cambodia.

“My family was
not well-off. We lived in need, because when my father left Kompong
Cham for Phnom Penh, he came alone. By then, he only had one old bike.
He struggled to earn a living and later saved up enough to buy a row
house, which cost quite a lot at the time. I think that if it had not
been for my father’s efforts, this day would not have come for me.


“I
received my Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations at Cambodia
University, and in Economics at the Pannasastra University of Cambodia.
Later, I continued my studies overseas—I had always longed to further
my studies in Japan and the United States … I was so proud to be able
to study in Japan.


“For the time being, I want to put the
knowledge I received during my studies in Japan to use in my country by
continuing the work of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and by
working with friends and other civil-society groups, sharing the
experience and knowledge that I have. In the meantime, I want to become
an independent analyst.


“I am convinced that the more we human
beings come to know each other, the more we will reduce our
misunderstandings and disputes, and thus help our country become more
tolerant. We can help to build peace among us, which is my first goal.
The second goal I long for is to see our youth share their experiences 
so that they can generate more ideas and initiatives to help develop
our society.”


Interview by Naline Pea of RFA’s Khmer service.

 

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