Among 40,000 children from 60 countries, Cambodian Song Sothy is the second Cambodian boy to win a prize at this year’s EU International Drawing Competition on the theme of Gender Equality. Song Sothy was awarded a prize equivalent to €1,000 (US$1,304).
In the award ceremony at Friends International last weekend, ambassador-designate Jean-Francois Cautain, head of EU delegation to Cambodia, said that “it is a matter of pride for Cambodia to have won for the second year in a row and especially to have such intelligent generation who understand the gender equality concept from a very young age”.
“One upon a time there was a girl and a boy; together they wanted to make the world a better place ...” begins the brief for the EU’s annual drawing competition for children launched globally on International Women’s Day every year.
Sivann Botum, secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, noticed the spread of gender equality in Cambodia. “We’ve seen gender equality has been much developed to rural areas but women also need to develop their own ability to develop more gender equality.”
“The award also shows that Cambodian children’s awareness has improved even though we’ve suffered many years by civil war,” she said.
Prizewinner Song Sothy, who studies in grade five at Cumpu Vuan primary school, was keen to encourage his peers to enter the next competition. “I first would like to thank to my parents who have provided the opportunity for me to study and always supported me in my drawing and delighted to thank to Friends organization who has provided the information for us to join in the competition,” Song Sothy said.
“Through my drawing, I hope there will be more participation from women in society and working opportunities. Women can do everything like men do in sports, security and so on,” he said.
“I also would like to inform the children between eight to ten years old to join in drawing competition every year to help in raising awareness about gender equity in Cambodia,” Sothy added.
Kong Thea, Song Sothy’s father told the Post about how he encouraged his son to e successful in the competition. “I just provided him with some ideas related to gender equality but I couldn’t help him more because I can’t draw good pictures,” he said.
“I realized he had talent since he was four or five years old. I like to put his drawings on the wall but he has never had an extra drawing class before,” Song Sothy’s father said.
The drawing competition is one the EU’s initiatives as the world’s leading donor, committed to implement its plan of action on gender equality and women empowerment.
In Cambodia, the EU through the Delegation of the European Union has supported ten gender related projects with total amount of €3.4 million over the last five years which have been implemented by NGOs. Besides Song Sothy, there were another nine local runners-up from around the country.