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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youth advocates offer their peers a platform

Youth advocates offer their peers a platform

Youth advocates offer their peers a platform

Fanning out across the provinces, 10 groups of young reporters are serving as a voice for the nation’s youth.

Aged between 16 and 22, participants in the Support the Children and Young People (SCY) programme volunteer as cameramen, scriptwriters and video editors.

These youths travel to the far corners of the country to keep a finger on the pulse of society, observing current issues and subjects of debate.

Em Chan Makara, the executive director of Support Children and Young People (SCY), said the programme’s young participants would benefit broadly from their experience with the organisation.

“They gain communication skills that are valuable when dealing with society and social services,” he added.

Youths under the guidance of the SCY programme have produced some 250 features – an impressive feat given that most of them had no professional training before coming to SCY. Their pieces focus on topics including education, health, and political and cultural history.

Em Chan Makara said he’s especially proud of the SCY documentaries that have received government acknowledgment. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport was so impressed with one student production that it was screened at a global conference on child labour.

SCY participant Sreng Chansouphea, 19, of Norton University, said she enjoyed the feeling of social responsibility that her work engendered.

“I am able to relate my work better to society by helping young children in Cambodia,” she said, adding that she had developed a passion for educational documentary.

Sometimes the work itself is enjoyable: Participant Khan Rina, 19, said that in addition to the warm, fuzzy feeling she gets from educating her fellow youths, she enjoys the chance to communicate with people as a scriptwriter. “I am happy that I have chance to work here,” she said.

Ly Chhay, a cameraman, said: “My opinions and my way of thinking have transformed after arriving at SCY because the organisation supports me, and I can focus on developing young people in Cambodia.”

SCY’s Youth Today programme, aiming to provide young Cambodians with a platform for communicating their concerns and interests to a wider audience, airs on the Cambodian Television Network (CTN) every Sunday morning.