"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the willing to make a change over that fear" – Angely
On the 6th and 7th of February 2020, Liger Leadership Academy held a marvelous event which was the Khmer Model United Nation Conference. The vision was to empower Cambodian Formal Language Use. In addition to that, the event was a great example of collaboration between youths to create suitable solutions to the issues our world face today.
The conference was divided into 5 different committees consisting of 4 general assemblies and one committee of the security council. In each conference, there were two resolutions for the delegates of different nations to debate upon the proper solution.
I attended the conference as the Delegate of the United States in the general assembly 3 which debated upon “The Elimination of Cybercrimes in Social Media. ” and “The Problems of Establishing the One Belt One Road Initiative”.
To prepare for this conference, I finished two resolutions for the two topics which focused on creating sustainable and equal solutions for all countries in the committee.
The main challenge for me in this Model United Nation experience was spending time to research, synthesize and analyse different data to fully understand all of the viewpoints towards a certain problem. For example, The Belt and Road Initiative established by president Xi-JinPing in 2013 was a topic which needs a deep research in order for us to understand all of the different political viewpoints.
Overall, the conference was a really fruitful and collaborative event, empowering individuals to speak up through the perspective of a leader. This really enhance our public speaking, political understanding and international relation skills as high-school students with no experience in these fields at all.
It was a huge success, when everyone in the conference was given a voice as a youth. Many thoughtful questions were raised, great enough that the real leaders involving the topics should’ve been there and listened.
My dream is to see this Model United Nation Conference being organized in more schools, especially in government schools.
Although we are young at age, together, our voices can amplify huge meaningful changes to the world around us.
With a number of youths greater than ever before, our country’s future lies in their hands; and I am proud to be a youth in this generation. I believe that our new perspective towards world issues, our creativity, innovations, ideas, arts, speeches and the energy we give is a great force towards tackling main global issues. Therefore, amplifying the voice of youths is the key to unlocking inspirations and solutions for the future of our generations.
On the night of December, 21st, 2019, The Annual Youth Talk under the theme of “Creating a Spark” which focuses on transforming the ways young people “Play, Learn, Build and Share” was held in the Neeson Cripps Academy campus. This great event gave a great voice to youth speakers from 9th to 12th grades to share our experiences, ideas and inspirations to our community. The night rocked with overwhelming energy and motivations from each unique speakers.
Most of the topics were about self-improvement including how to get away from your comfort zones, how to better use technology to learn, and problems in society including gender equality. However, my topic was about “Climate Crisis” which sets a different mood in the audience because it wasn’t about a positive inspiration but rather a negative impact and fate we have caused to the planet.
Here is the story behind why I am so passionate about the Climate Crisis and chose to talk about it:
I was introduced to the severity condition of the Earth during the global climate strike day which my school participated in many ways for that day: we didn’t use electricity, we set a zero food waste goal and we all discussed about the topics and made personal pledges.
After that day, I began researching more and more about this crisis, read many articles, looked at many graphs and facts from NASA and other scientists and looked at anything I can find.
Later on, I came across a very inspirational TEDxYouth talk about the Climate Crisis under the title of “Why you should become a climate activist” by Luisa Neubauer which immediately stirred up my passion and when I decided to be a Cambodian Climate Activist, too.
At the Annual Youth Talk, I shared the sciences behind this Crisis, the great environmental effects and the massive extinction that we are going through, and especially how we as earthlings can do to help.
It was an honor to meet Mr.Scott Neeson who is the founder and operative director of the NCA.
I learned a lot from other speakers and from preparing for this event, and I hope the impact will stay with the audience for a long time.
On the 22nd of November, 2019, I had one of my greatest sharation (presentation event) ever in Liger which I presented about the impact that Outdoor Leadership Program brings to Cambodian youths and to me. The most joyful part was meeting many older students, seeing their smiles, and hearing that they were inspired by the project I was presenting.
Besides the student, I coincidentally met an outdoor trainer which I easily made connections with due to our experience and perspective in the outdoor field. He shared his outdoor experiences in many beautiful landscapes in different countries he went to. His lessons learned from his trekking leadership with many participants he lead helps our program to be better. In addition, I was able to inspire an IT that only works with technology and entrepreneurship to start going outdoors, and take some moments to change the perspectives from technology to nature.
“Do you think Humanity is being consumed by technology?”, “What do you think about how our nature is being threatened?” and “Do you think humans are being disconnected from their true homes?” These are the questions I asked audiences to hear from their perspective and get them to open up. I was amazed to see so many great responses and discussions out of the several questions we asked them.
Then, I started telling them the journey of our project:
“It starts from the great success and impact we saw from Liger students, and we thought: Why don’t we begin to spread this success and experience to other students? In my last 14 weeks, I worked in this project that aims to bring the wonderful and life-changing outdoor experiences to students. We carried out two workshops; one in Kampong Cham Province and another one in Happy Chandara which is an all girl school. It was a perfect opportunity for us to empower those women who always fight through this stereotypical society.
I am sure they are familiar with the concept of “Girls are housewives and indoor workers rather than explorers in the outdoors.” We wanted to fight that stigma together by introducing these girls to our program. After the workshop, they were all enthusiastic to go to the trekking right away. Their smiles, responses to our questions, discussions with each other and especially their spread of ideas with their peers proved our project was making real impacts. We watched them have fun, learn and grow together in just an afternoon of our pre-workshop. I can’t imagine what change it can bring to them after the whole program.”
“I want to have the workshop and go out trekking, too!” One of the girls from GreenLand said full of energy. I replied telling her that we are going to collaborate with her school, too. She was happy, and I was even more excited to work with them already. I continued with the stories from my most life changing outdoor trip ever that I had just a few days earlier:
“Wow, I do not know where to begin this great adventure story of mine. It was my absolute most challenging and most outside-of-my-comfort-zone experience which I discovered the true strength of teamwork and the power of determination.
It leads me to overcoming my fears, walking through obstacles and fighting through the hardest challenges, taking real risks and responsibilities and especially to think and see beyond. It proved the saying: Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I can tell you it’s most true when it comes to outdoor.
The great exhaustion,
the short breaths and pounding hearts,
the muscle ache, ankle twist, blisters, blood, sweat and tears,
were the only light to self-improvement and growth.
It leads us to the greatest sceneries,
Of mountains and valleys,
Of singing birds in their paradise,
Of wild animals living in their true homes,
Of families of bees, that chase and stinks us,
Of gnarly bushes of trees that reach out to us,
As we trek, sang, and explore,
Discovering new wonders as we go. ”
Outdoor Leadership is not just a typical trip; rather a personal experience, an exploration, a discovery that will forever capture our fascination in the deepest part of your soul.
In our storytelling expertise class, we learn how to write a meaningful profile of our friends. My partner was Panharoth, a football player and sports enthusiast. I interviewed him to get him open up about his life, childhood and family, his passion with football and future goals. Storytelling is not just about telling the stories that we heard, but it is about how can we get deep stories from the people we are writing about. I learned how to use interviewing techniques that can help me, as a writer, connect to Panharoth and get all of his stories for the profile I am writing for him. After getting the stories, I worked on the profile by crafting it into a powerful flow that the reader can easily understand and take away from. Here is the final profile of Panharoth:
The Vigorous Boy Who Plays Hard
“Sports is about making Friendship, not Enemy”
Sopanharoth said, with a wide smile, radiating joy and passion when talking about one of his main inspirations in life.
On a September morning, Panharoth excitedly shared his experiences and stories about sports, from his childhood until now. As I sat down and began to talk about his experience in sports, enthusiasm and energy from him already proved his great passion for sports and connecting with new people. A sudden rush of energy ran through me seeing him so excited. As I asked him a few questions, his stories began to unfold.
Childhood and the Spark for Sport
We began to talk about his childhood. Panharoth looked up to the ceiling, mind wandering into the good old memories, trying to recall all the childish stories.
Panharoth did not change much from his childhood. His love for football and outdoor activities arose then, even if he did not notice it, and it only grows with him as he gets older.
Before sports brought him to his current journey, Panharoth was a little boy who liked to play with toys everyday with his younger brother. As a kid with many friends, he also liked to spend his time outside, sometimes playing games, or at other times, sports. But he said sport wasn’t what he really liked back then, because he was tired and most times were devoted to lessons in school and also from his home-schooling with his mom. He further recalled the adventures he had as a child, with his friends and family, revealing his biggest fear as a child which is spiritual ghost. We shared a grin as he continued the juvenile story of his. “You know back then, it was so silly. I was really really scared of ghosts.” –all while laughing, I continued jokingly, “are you still afraid now?” “No, no, no,” He replied with a smile.
Talking about inspiration in his childhood, his mom plays a really big role in his life, inspiring him to be curious as a child and always keep learning. He also got the love of football from his Grandfather, who is a person who has always liked sports like him, too.
The earliest time he remembered playing football was at his fourth grade in PE class. “It was my very first time, and I got really excited. I met a lot of cool people, made friends, and it inspired me to just continue.” Besides PE, his favorite class back then was Engineering, because he really liked building things, from all types of toys and legos. Panharoth is also very good at math, then and now. “I was also good at math, so I guess it is another one of my favorite class, too.”
“Sometimes, you play for the sake of fun times. But sometimes, you need to play for the championship, too. But with Respect, of course”
This is the wisdom of Panharoth when it comes to competitions. Competition is an important part of a footballer’s life, and Panharoth said excitedly that it is really enjoyable and fun to actually play for his passions.
To prepare for a competition, Panharoth always discusses with his team to come up with smart strategies. His tip to prepare is to sleep well to prepare for the energetic morning. “Just do it!” he said full of power.
On the morning of the competitions, there were always a mixture of feelings, nervous, afraid, excited. “However, when I am on the field, I just feel the power and I got all excited” Panharoth talked with a smile.
The Truest Spirits of Football and Sports
During a competition, the key to true championship is strong teamwork and flexibility. “If you see your friend struggle, go and help them. Guide them to the right position.”
He recalled a time when he got a cramp, and his friend and his competing players hurried to help him up. “When we got injuries, the two competing teams always help each other out.” Isn’t that the truest spirit of football?
I was curious about how he got so confident during competitions. Panharoth told me “the confidence comes from the love of football”
Looking Back on the Road
His most memorable competition was at Phnom Penh Crown. Although his team lost by 0, it was his friendliest competition ever. “They were really good at playing football, but they were really kind, too.” He recalled the opponent team’s kindness with fondness.
Life Changed. Thanks to Sports.
For Panharoth, life without sports is not complete, just like a singer without his voice and a drawer without his sights.
In the future, he wants to have a career which he is not sure of yet, and an ideal life with his family and sports.
Without football, he wouldn’t have met new people in his life, and wouldn’t be this happy. So thanks to sports, his life changed.
What is the fundamental processes that supports the energy for all living organisms? Why are trees so essential for life on earth? How do those trees make food for themselves? How do humans get our oxygen? Where does it come from and how was it made?
In biology class, we explore the answer to these questions: Photosynthesis.
All living organisms need energy; and glucose is the main source of energy for plants, animals and humans. Glucose is produced in a complex process that requires light energy from the sun and water from the ground which is called Photosynthesis. This is the method that plants, as autotrophs, use to create their own energy to support other heterotrophs. Photosynthesis is a fundamental process for life, as it provides organisms with oxygen that they need and recycle the carbon that we produce. That is why plants are so essential for sustaining the entire ecosystem on this planet. Not only they are producers of energy, trees and plants also help to extract the carbon out of the air; which therefore can immensely help to improve our climate conditions in an era where it is the main threat to the survival of all species.
Let’s dive deeper into how photosynthesis function in the leaves of plants.
There are two stages of photosynthesis: the Light Reactions and the Calvin Cycle.
Light Reactions is the first stage that takes place in the chloroplast (that contains thylakoids which are packages of the green pigment, chlorophyll that helps to absorb the light energy). In this stage, plants will absorb the light energy and transfer them into two types of energy forms called ATP and NADPH. The Light Reactions is when the plants use water and release oxygen as a byproduct.
Calvin Cycle is the second stage that takes place in the stroma (liquid like area in the chloroplast). This stage is when the plants use the carbon dioxide that they absorb from the atmosphere to create glucose (a form of sugar that is the main source of energy for plants, animals and humans) by using the energy absorbed during Light Reactions.
Through these complex steps that takes place in the leaves of three trillions trees on this planet, humans, animals and other consumers are able to get the glucose that they need and the waste of our respiration (Carbon Dioxide) can be recycled over and over again.
Without trees, living organisms would not have the energy source that we need and the climate crisis would threaten the survival of all species on Earth. That is why trees are so valuable for all living organisms on this planet.
In the opening ceremony of the Model United Nations Conference 2019, the secretary general speaks: “Model United Nations 2019’s theme is Giving Youth a Voice. But how do we can we give a platform for the youth to speak, if they aren’t willing to share their voice?” Those two sentences were the part that spoke to me the most throughout this year’s conference.
As a first time delegate, I have to admit I was a little bit too audacious to sign up for the General Assembly 3 (GA3) when I could have signed up for the junior committee instead; but this risk I made actually made my first MUN experience more challenging and empowering.
One of the reasons I signed up for GA3 committee is because of its theme that focuses on the 10th SDG goal which is Reduced Inequalities. I wanted to use my voice as the delegate of the Kingdom of France and also as a youth in the society, to contribute to the resolutions that aim to provide equality, justice, freedom and rights to all people. I tried my best to prepare in advance for this first conference. I spent hours on the computer reading articles, looking at data and any research I can find relating to the three topics of GA3 committee which are: “The question of reducing inequality towards the LGBTQ+ community.”, “The question of representation of youths in government.” and “The question of government censorship of social media”. The two resolutions that I chose to work on are on the question of reducing inequality towards the LGBTQ+ community and the question of representation of youths in government. I was able to speak in favor of the two topics I chose in my resolutions according to the positive support provided by my delegation nation, France. The structure of MUN that requires every delegate to speak from their nation’s viewpoint, and not their personal opinions, provides more challenges but also a powerful voice to delegates. It has given me the power to challenge delegates from nations with opposing point of views, to question their beliefs, but most importantly to compromise.
On the overall aspect, my first MUN conference was challenging but successful. It had given me memories, hope and strength. It tells me that I have the ability to voice my stance, to challenge and listen to different aspects in the world. Most importantly, it has given me a chance to work with new people towards the same goal which is creating a better world.
But if there’s one thing I take away the most from this, it is that gathering truthful voices from people is not easy, and we need to really think about how society can better listen to their people. Back to the beginning, I mentioned the secretary general’s speech that has spoken to me the most because it represents the unfortunate truth we live in. Even in the conference, I saw delegates who were scared to speak, scared to ask questions or afraid to just raise their nation placards to express their stances and needs. Why are we afraid to speak? Is it merely the stage fright? Is it the fear resulting from indirect suppression from the society or governments? Is it the result caused by communism oppression that tends to silence rebellious reforms? Or is it because of societal discrimination, prejudice or stereotypes that we constantly battle?
Whatever reason it is, I believe we all need to hear and listen to the voices of the people that we live among, no matter who we are. I believe no real change can be made if those statements of the people themselves are not being heard. I believe there’s no way government actions can work if the people whom those laws apply to aren’t parts of the decisions.
We need to fully and truthfully encourage, listen to each other, act upon the fully compromised opinions and ultimately creating a better world for all of us.
Deep in the woods. Lost in the wild. Found my soul
Lifestyles in the city are full of modern technologies and convenience which tend to slowly take humanity away from their true home, nature. After years of growing up in the city, I did not have a lot of time to spend in the wild beauty of nature and get a chance to actually appreciate how special and wonderful it is. Luckily, I got to have a full experience in the wilderness during an exploration called Outdoor Leadership. That is when Nature became a big inspiration for me and I wanted to share that inspiration to other youths in Cambodia.
Youth Outdoor Leadership Program is an exploration that gives me a chance to use my wonderful experiences and lessons I got from my time in nature to inspire other students in my country. The mission of this project is to empower Cambodian youth to be outdoor leaders and environmental stewards by introducing them to natural spaces, raising awareness of conservation threats, and nurturing the passion and skills needed to positively impact their communities.
To complete this mission, we have came up with specific goals that we want the youths to experience.
First of all, we would love to give them a chance to explore the outdoor nature of Cambodia and learn about the wonderful wilderness we have. This will be an experiential outdoor program because the students are going to trek, camp, observe nature and practice a lot of skills in the wild.
In order to prepare them for the trips, we are going to run four main workshops with them that focuses on different skills including: leadership and community building, medical and risk management, nature appreciation and wilderness skills. By introducing them to these skills, we are hoping to develop their appreciation of nature and the treasures they did not know existed in their own country.
This round, we focuses mainly on developing the four workshops. The exploration have talked to many outdoor leaders working in different fields and places to strengthen our understanding about outdoor leadership. Through this experience, I can understand deeper about outdoor leadership and how to develop a great workshop.
This Outdoor Leadership Program for Youth is hopeful for creating a huge impact, not only on those youths who are participants, but their community as a whole. Participants who are joining will be encouraged to break down gender stereotypes which always limited girls from doing outdoor activities and sports. The youths will also be encouraged to get outside of their comfort zone and try something that they have never done before.
To keep the positive impact going, even this program ended, we are going to ask the participants to continue spreading the environmental stewardship to their own community through the Final Impact Project. The participants will create their own projects to share their experiences and awareness to a bigger audience. By doing this, the change will keep going and the hopes of preserving our nature is brighter.
In the course of history, why has there been those brutal wars that caused millions and millions of casualties? Why were those citizens killed, had their families torn apart, had their thoughts suppressed and forced to become refugees? Why did these innocent people needed to starve to death, leave their homes and do not even have access to basic human rights? Why?
I have been exploring pieces of answers to those lingering questions above and what I found out was excruciating.
I studied the history of the Vietnam wars, focusing on Communism and Democratic war between dominating countries. When the United States strongly supported the Democracy system, there were countries who opposed this and fought for communism instead. One of those countries were Vietnam, and the different beliefs of political systems between leaders broke the country apart. There is when the wars between the Northern Communists led by Ho Chi Minh supported by the Soviet Union and Southern troops supported by the US begins.
After relentless fights that causes countless casualties of armies, and innocent people, the Northern Communists took over Saigon on the 30th of April, 1975, and there is when the chaos grew in a blink of an eye.
Thousands of South Vietnamese escaped the took-over land, left behind their homes, risking their lives. These refugees did whatever it takes to leave.
I followed the painful life of a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl, Ha, whose father was captured and had to fight for her fate. Ha’s diary was expressed in vividly-painted poems that describes the pain of each days she coped through during the South Vietnam war. She called the diary: “Inside Out and Back Again”.
The poems inside the diaries reveals Ha’s rebellious and wild character. She was born into a war-bound country with history of brutal colonization, slavery, but also a country with stories of brave and rebellious heroes. She was trying to become one of them. Ha was a girl who questions the world around her and always fights for a difference.
Ha did not let her father’s absence, the fact that she is the youngest girl in the family, and especially the chaos the wars brought to her, affect her ambitions to fight for what she thinks is right. However, the tragic shapes her to be a strong and fierce girl who learns to see the beauty of the world and remain strong even in the darkest days of her refugee experience.
Yes, her family decided to flee their homes just like hundreds of thousands of other people as well, leaving behind all of the treasured memories and her father. But these struggles are just the beginning of a much harder journey her family was about to take. Throughout her journey, Ha experienced extreme hunger, thirst, and for the first time, she learned what a refugees battle is like.
After the days on the refugee camp island, lucky to be evacuated by the US navies, she arrived at Alabama, the home of an American host. There is when I cried, learning about the extreme discrimination this little girl was going through in the foreign land. However, she remains strong and stand against the wind.
I learned so much from Ha’s life and her overwhelming strength against the chaos hit me.
This is just a life out of over 120,000 refugees who escaped South Vietnam.
There were many more stories of tragedies, loss, evacuate missions, bravery and strength, buried in the heart of these people, the victim of the war.
These stories were the prove that the world deserves peace. The people deserve a life where they can freely express their thoughts, without being prosecuted for their identity, assumed identity. The people deserve freedom. They deserve protection for their basic human rights. They want and fully deserve well-lived lives.
I hope we will learn from the past and avoid stepping on these dark paths of history again.
Have you ever wonder how are parasites capable of manipulating animals or hosts much bigger than them? I used to wonder the same, too. But after studying about it, I realize parasites have a unique and smart system to survive, reproduce by controlling its host.
Parasites are microorganisms that live on or inside a host organism body which they are capable of not only harm but sometimes kill its host as well. Their main survival is through transmitting itself from one host to the other. In order to do so, they need to find their own ways to manipulate their hosts by learning abut the host’s environment, food-cycle and more.
There are many different ways to control their host’s behaviors including
1- Direct Brain Hijacking
(Example 1: Gordian Worm: Imagine its host as cricket which naturally more likely to be in dry areas rather than wet ones. However, the Gordian Worms need water to breed and mate, so when they hit the age to mate, the worms produce a protein that confuses the navigation system of the cricket which results in the confused cricket jumps into a water source. Often times, the crickets will drown and the Gordian Worms can go out to mate. Later on, their eggs will be eaten by water insects which then go out on land and will be eaten by new crickets. This is how the Gordian Worm preserves its species).
(Example 2: Rabies Parasite: These parasites often affect dogs and other mammals, traveling up their host’s nerve systems and into the brain. This results in the inflammation in the dog’s brain which would lead to death, but before they die, the parasites would affect the aggressiveness level inside the brains, increases the virus-transmitting saliva and also making them hard to swallow. All of these effects result in the increased tendency to bite another mammal which makes it easier to pass on the viruses and parasites.
(Example 3: Ophiocordyceps or known as the Zombie Fungus: Their ideal hosts are tropical ants that normally live on treetops. Their first move to the ant is through the piercing exoskeleton which results in the ant’s convulsion that makes them fall off the tree. Then, the parasites would control the ant’s behavior which makes it wander without consciousness until the ant comes across with leaves with the perfect condition for the fungi to breed which allows the fungi to latch itself onto the leave. The ant dies and the parasite will affect its body and build a tall thin stalk on the ant’s neck which after several weeks, shoots out more spored to affect more ants. )
(Example 4: Malaria Parasite: This parasite is an extremely dangerous kind for humans which is responsible for hundreds of millions of malaria cases every year The parasite’s hosts are mosquitos which are the spreading agents of the virus that causes malaria. The infected mosquitos tend to bite more frequently and longer. Humans who got the viruses are more attracted to mosquito bites. )
From the parasites that affect the directly to the brain (Gordian Worms), to the ones that blocks the host’s enzyme system to make them go to more preys to infect (Malaria Parasites), the ones that overdrive the immune system and increase the anxiety rates (Rabies Parasites), these parasites have powerful and effective way to manipulate species who are much bigger then them. It’s scary when the parasites can be so manipulative because we do not know what are the actions that they made us do and how much are we actually being controlled by them?
“Use the potential, talent, and passion you possess to be the change you want to see in the world – Angely”
I was born, raised, and had been living my whole life in Cambodia, a country that has been constantly reforming after the destructive history of the Khmer Rouge genocide which did not only killed millions of people but also leaves many damages on this once-prosperous country and its citizens. The trauma and the intense oppression from the genocide leave the older generation fearful of new possibilities, revolutionary ideas, and innovative ways to help change this country. The stereotypes, discriminations, and traditions of our culture keep all of us in a fixed mindset-box which contradicts the possibilities of new technological and innovative solutions to the major problems in our society. For instance, the gender gaps in Cambodian society that discriminate women from pursuing careers in entrepreneurship, technological, architectural and scientifical fields which results in the lack of human resources that results in the decrease of the development of the whole nation. Due to these inequalities and gaps I have seen in this once-prosperous country, I strongly believe that fair and equal distribution of career opportunities and rights for people, especially those who belong to certain racism or gender, will benefit the country and the world as a whole and leads to a better future for humankind.
In our society, there is this invisible stereotype that lives inside the mindset of people that limits girls, people with disability, LGBTQ community or people with different skin colors and religions from being who they are, limits their opportunities and choices, take away their rights and freedom. As an example, most people would think that men are better coders and business managers than women, which therefore results in fewer opportunities giving to girls in order to pursue these fields. However, I believe women are as talented and can be as successful as men if given the same education, career opportunity, and freedom. If society can encourage all kinds of people, regardless of their identity, all nations would bolster because of the increase in human resources.
Promoting opportunities and encourage girls and children towards participating in programming, entrepreneurship, and science.
Technovation 2019 (1st place from Junior Division)
This school year (2018-2019), I and the other four girls built a team (The Credos) for a business and coding competition called Technovation. This competition aims to enhance girls’ interest and skills in entrepreneurship and technology by creating a 12-week program to teach girls both of these skills. What is even more special about Technovation is the competitions that are held both nationally and internationally that allow girls to compete, pitch their business ideas and showcase the application that they have developed throughout the course. Everyone who has participated in the regional pitching events was blown away by the innovative ideas, confidence, and professionalism and especially, the entrepreneurship and technology mindsets that all Cambodian of those courageous Cambodian girls have shown. Because of the hard work we put in, there was a successful achievement that happened that day of the national pitch event.
Our team (The Credos) won the 1st place from the Junior division, even though we are just 13-14! This achievement and the overall program are great inspiration for young start-up developers and coders. Most importantly, it debunks the stereotype that girls aren’t as talented coders and entrepreneurs as boys and showcases that the stereotype that girls or children aren’t talented coders and entrepreneurs is definitely just a one-sided story.
First Lego League Robotics in Singapore: Developing the Possibility of Change for the Astronauts and the Future of Technology.
In March 2019, I was a part of the Robotics team that went to compete in Singapore with hundreds of other teams from around the world. There were 5 girls and 5 boys that worked together on this project. The FLL competition requires students to program the robots to complete missions which include researching problems that the astronauts are facing when they go out in explorations that are within our solar system and coming up with ideas to solve these problems for them. This project highly encourages students, especially girls who normally can’t find opportunities to work on technology-related and science-related projects. It gives all of us a chance to play with block-coding, robot controlling and researching on real scientific problems.
This project shows me that girls and young students are a strong force that supports and pushes the whole team towards success. We can research about scientific problems and come up with innovative ideas to help astronauts with their problems, and more importantly, we can embrace and promote collaboration in the team well.
Our creative solutions are presented to the judges, and many appreciations, astonishments, and supports are shown from the smile of the judges when we confidently presented our project to them. Finally, we won an award from the competition which is ‘Overseas Best Performing Team’ and received a trophy and medals. This success is not just about winning the competition, but also about how students and girls can develop the possibility of change and have the potential to create a better world.
Young Students are Capable and Passionate Raise Awareness about Necessary Change
Almost all events, conferences, campaigns or other social activities consist of mostly adults, trying to raise awareness and encourage change in communities, but I believe young students have the ability to do the same, with their open-minded ideas and the vision of a better future.
Cambodian Model United Nations Conference, The solutions worth implementing.
In May 2019, there is a Cambodian Model United Nations Conference that is organized by three senior girls from the Liger Leadership Academy and participated by young high-school students who, surprisingly, are mostly girls! It was a mind-blowing experience, with young students expressing their concerns towards global issues and sharing ideas towards making a change, not only in their community but also for common good for the world as a whole.
Each student came to the conference with a country that they will represent as delegates. The students represent their country very well while debating on the different resolutions on each of the issues. I was the delegate of the United Kingdom who was debating in General Assembly 3, which covered the topic of Gender Equality for the LGBTQcommunity and the Question of Improving Air Quality Throughout the Globe.
Despite the young age, students took initiatives to come up to the podium and presented their ideas with formal language, respect towards racism and differences in different countries, especially, their ideas were very practical for realistic practices for governments around the world. I believe youths are a strong force for our future, so creating opportunities and encouragement for them to express their ideas and solutions for global issues can be a big benefit for mankind.
Where are the best resources for creative ideas? Where can we find great and inspiring empowerment? Well, the TEDx Talks presented in the theme of Ideas Empowered that are delivered on December, 1st, 2019 is amongst the most mind-changing presentations you can ever find in Cambodia. Young students delivered presentations that showcase their perspectives and concerns towards the different field of issues, from Environmental Topics, Literature and Culture topics to Growth-Mindset, Stereotypes and Discriminations Topics. I was one of the speakers of this event, and I was talking about Empowering Literature in Cambodia because I believe that literature has the power to change lives, encourage, and embrace voices from people, and change the mindsets of the society. I talked about the importance of reading and preserving literature and how it can help us to achieve both personal and social goods. (To know more about my talk, check out this portfolio post)
The tremendous flow of different ideas and mindsets from the bright young presenters shook the audience to the core, leaving them refreshed with new perspectives towards society and life. raising awareness about global issues, helping them to unlock their potential from the part of their mind they have never been aware of, encouraging audiences to step out of their comfort zone and to start reaching for their dreams and a life well-lived, and more advantages that the audience experience. It was one of the most inspiring events for me because seeing the bright young students that are the key to our future generation filled with such enthusiasm to change the world into a better place is just what we need for this world.
It is understandable that Cambodia or other countries, that have been through great disasters in their history, are fearful of changes and revolutions in ideas and mindsets, for instance, stereotypes or discriminations against people with a certain age, gender or race. However, I wish to encourage everyone to start embracing new ideas, mindsets, solutions, and technologies that can lead our world to a better future. Instead of protesting those new concepts, try to consider its advantages that can help our world. Encourage voices from all kinds of people, regardless of their age, gender or race. If we want a bright future for the next generation, we need to start taking action and creating the change right now! Everything starts from ourselves, so begin to explore your own potential, talent, and passion and how can you use that to contribute to change this world. How can you raise awareness about change, encourage change, develop the possibility of change in your very own community? I believe that each and every one human being has a unique potential to be a part of the change. We are important change-makers and we have the ability to do so. Therefore, we need to work and collaborate together to encourage the possibility of a bright future for the next generation.