Initial contacts

June 17, 2016
by 
Luc Paré, member of the Quebec City diocese

In June 2016, eight Development and Peace members from Eastern Québec will be travelling to Cambodia with their regional animators for 20 days. They will be visiting the regions of Phnom Phen, Kampot, Siem Reap, Battambang and Ratanakiri.

The last day, which lasted 35 hours, was very full indeed: a 14,000 km flight and 21 hours spent in the sky. We finally had an opportunity to rest in our hotel during our first morning in Phnom Penh.

Then it was off for a visit of a first Development and Peace partner, NGO Forum, an organization that creates links between both Cambodian and international NGOs and the nation’s government. NGO Forum takes action on issues related to daily life, the environment, and economic development. The organization also provides information and conducts research on these subjects.


Development and Peace promotes democracy, and democracy is indispensable for our action,” emphasized Tek Vanerra, Executive Director of NGO Forum. “The financial support we get from Development and Peace helps us combat poverty more effectively.”

The second partner we met is YRDP. This committed group of young activists is a real breath of fresh air! YRDP organizes training sessions where young people develop an interest in the political issues of Cambodian society. The prevailing philosophy at school is “listen and receive.” With YRDP, young people must reflect and meet people in the field. After a training session, these young people will, for example, be ready to go and visit villages and become “human rights observers.” They won’t learn the basics of democratic life from Cambodia’s censored media, that’s for sure!

What’s their biggest dream? “Complete peace and freedom for my country, as well as better education for our people,” one of the young people we met told us. “For Cambodia to truly become a democracy,” added another.

More than 60,000 young academics have been trained by YRDP since 2008, including young people from all Cambodian provinces attending Phnom Penh universities. These partners are the eyes, the heart and the arms of our international social and solidarity enterprise.

On this cheery note, I wish you all a very good night!

Orkun! Thank you!

 For further information on the solidarity trip to Cambodia, pay a regular visit to the participants’ blog..