Youth Ambassadors of Women Entrepreneurs Act (WE Act) held the “WE Light Up Talk” youth forum on January 28 to raise awareness and gave young members of the disabled, LGBT and indigenous communities the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and social participation.
Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Act is an organisation which supports women in business.
Held with the theme “Leadership and Youth Participation in Society”, the forum was led by Samheng Boros, minister delegate attached to the prime minister and secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.
The forum provided a safe place for young people from marginalised communities to share their diverse experiences with the public.
“We aimed to encourage young people to participate in the programme and share their experiences. We also wanted them to describe how they were able to choose to live their lives the way they want to,” Nann Pechpheary, a youth ambassador for the programme’s Active Women Entrepreneurs Project, told The Post.
At her fourth year international relations student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, she was one of six young women who signed up as interns to the project, which is led by Thon Rithysochen.
Rithysochen, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambodia, told the Post: “We are actively involved in creating and implementing activities that allow young people and young women entrepreneurs to have their voices heard and seek solutions to common problems that they encounter.”
“Through volunteering with our project, the youth ambassadors not only have the opportunity to build their own capacity, they also receive training to ensure they have the skills to lead future projects that are sustainable and progressive,” she said.
She added that the forum participants had the opportunity to network with other young people and learned about the life of speakers from diverse communities. They also gained a deeper understanding of their own leadership potential.
“When we have confidence in ourselves, we recognise our true self, have the courage to make decisions and can encourage and connect with other young people to work towards a more positive and sustainable society,” she concluded.
Speakers addressed the forum were Rocham Mony who is a young indigenous woman from Ratanakkiri province and had overcame many obstacles to achieve her goal of studying at university; and Tol Chhour Kimheng, a young gay man who spoke about his fight to overcome social pressure and discrimination, both at school and in the workplace.
Two other speakers were Sar San and Ul Salao. Sar San was born with a disability but lives her own confident life. She had addressed her journey to finding happiness.
Ul Salao is a young man from a small village in a remote rural area. He shared how he came to be studying in Phnom Penh., and speak about his future wishes.
The forum was supported by USAID, through the WE Act Women Entrepreneurs Project of PACT Cambodia.