Sorn Sreyna is impassioned to create a better community for the deaf, and works to fulfill this vision at Craft PEACE café.
“I want to create my own small shop where I could collect and help sell artwork and crafts made by the deaf,” said Sreyna. “It’s the reason I’m still here at [Craft PEACE] today.”
When Sreyna lost her father at only four-years-old, her mother took up work as a chef for the Deaf Development Program. While with her mother, Sreyna learned about – and became motivated by – the disabled community.
Aside from managing Craft PEACE, Sreyna is a second-year student at Pannasastra University, where she majors in English Literature.
She took up her job at Craft PEACE last year.
“I started working at the lowest position available and was promoted to being manager from my hard work,” she explained. “The shop owner is willing to help Cambodian youth by offering training opportunities, regardless of their past work experience.”
Walking through the café with an elegant grace, Sreyna said that shop only sells locally produced coffee and that the crafts-for-sale are made from the disabled community in Kandal province, sponsored by the Banteay Prieb Centre, where they produce clothes, scarves, bags, sculptures and even furniture.
“As the manager, I know how to make coffee and have knowledge of our arts and crafts,” Sreyna said. “I need to ensure that the process [between Craft PEACE and Banteay Prieb] is going smoothly.”
Working at Craft PEACE is not Sreyna’s first time linking the often overlapping worlds of art and disability. At the young age of 14, Sreyna volunteered at the Light of Mercy Centre – where she taught disabled children traditional dance and how to make hand-made jewellery.
Out of personal interest, Sreyna then pursued learning sign language in order to communicate with the deaf.
“Sometimes, I was asked to solve family conflicts by translating for the deaf,” she explained. “I’d correct confusions and help to clear up misunderstandings among the family.”
Sreyna also worked as a sign translator for APSARA TV.
“I want Cambodian youth to value the disabled community since they are people like us,” Sreyna reflected. “They shouldn’t discriminate against them.”
“We should sympathise with them.”