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P2P in Phnom Penh

P2P IN PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: The Peace to Peacebuilders (P2P) project team Ms Angel Marie A. Ysik and Ms Jamila-Aisha P. Sanguila spearheaded and facilitated the two-day in-person consultation meeting...

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“I’ve been working in the child protection field since 2013. There was no sign of past trauma coming back but last year [2021] all the dark memory came up during the time. I don’t know exactly what triggered it but it was during the time when I was working on a GBV project. I learned that by giving myself some space, consulting with other friends who you trust to share the story with them, and being empowered by others really help me to see the light.”

Opor Srisuwan, Thailand Program Manager Women Empowerment Project at Internal Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) APS 11 (MA in Peace Education)

“During the pandemic, I feel really stressed because the university doesn’t pay attention to the workers. They only pay attention to the students and school staff but not the lecturer who has to prepare for teaching especially women [lecturers] who have plenty of students. When I had my second child, I realize that I have to get rid of some things like refusing added work that I can’t do because I need to prioritize my children.”

Fareeda Panjor, Thailand Lecturer and Researcher for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity at the Institute for Peace Studies Prince of Songkla University Asia Peace Innovators Forum Fellow

“I tried to consume less news and focus on what’s in front of me instead of constantly checking what’s on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever people tell you. I practice self care. I’m doing yoga. I cook food and exercise at home so I think those really helped me to stay focused and not be too stressed with all that is happening in the world.

Bright, Thailand Graduate Student at the Ateneo De Manila University and the U.N Mandated University for Peace APS 15 (MA in Environment Development and Peace)

“When you are working for the community, you prioritize their needs over your own. So, accepting that I am in a state of stress was the first step in overcoming it. I thought, ‘Okay, I might be stressed and I need to take care of myself. Maybe I need a step back from what’s causing that stress.’ The act of sharing also helps you to see the situation from a different view. Having my close friends, my partner, and my family listen helps me calm down. Sharing helps you reflect and release the stress so having a space where one can express comfortably, and creative activities are important.”

Varsha Malik, India MA in Diplomacy, Law, and Business from O.P. Jindal Global University

“My biggest personal crisis was when my mom got sick in early 2020, right after completing my masters degree. After graduation, I returned to my previous job as a peace builder with an organization in Thailand. I was very motivated. I was feeling like ‘Yeah I just graduated from my studies abroad. Thinking I have a whole bright future ahead of me to go there and change the world.’ But before I was able to start my work my mom got stroke and my life journey went from high to low very unexpectedly. So, I have to come back and bring my mom to a hospital in Vietnam. We got stuck in Vietnam for a few months during the pandemic because they closed the border but we managed to find a way to come back to Cambodia after 3 months. It was a lot of pressure on me in terms of financial struggle as well as emotional because I witness my mom suffer every day and the covid situation really put extra weight on the struggle that I and our entire family have been facing. My mom is slowly getting better but it remains challenging for my family until now for two years already. As for my professional career, I have the capacity to build peace through my video content but am not empowered since I still struggle to get all video making tools as well as stuck at home to take care of my mom because of her paralyzed condition. I believe an empowered peace builder would be those who have enough capability and support to build peace.”

Seng Porchhay, Cambodia Freelancer Video Maker Animator and Content Creator APS12 (MA in Environment Development and Peace)

“Because of the APS network, I can enjoy meeting alumni from the Philippines, in Myanmar, and in Cambodia. Whenever I visit the country for work, I can meet somebody and learn the local context from them. So, it [APS network] supports understanding of local context and also the security for myself.”

Jun Fujihara, Japan Programme Officer at UN-Habitat Myanmar Office APS 10

“In our organization, they provide a training course on stress management. From that, I learned and practice confiding my feeling to the people I trust. I try to talk more to my family as much as possible. Even if we stay far but we can talk via messenger call or video so we can talk and share our feeling whenever I feel unhappy or I need support I express that to my partner as much as possible. As both peacebuilders what helps us go through the pandemic is by supporting each other. Sometimes I understand that when I feel not well or I feel down, I share with him [partner] and he gives me advice. As a partner, I also understand that he is stressed at work too so I will ask him how he is doing and try to be a good listener.”

Sereirath Ork, Cambodia, Save the Children Cambodia

“We are all in different places, in different countries even. So the only thing we can do is catch up once in a while. Make sure that the other person is doing fine. What we see online may not give us the best impression of how someone is doing. So saying a ‘hi’ or ‘are you okay?’ could uplift them….they might feel like ‘Oh my friend, whom I’ve lost in touch for a very long time has reached out to me.’ A simple ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ can, later on, continue to video call on google meet or zoom meeting. I think this one helps us to cope, even temporarily with what we are going through. Connecting with friends helps you feel better and can make you feel reassured you that there are people in our lives whom we can share our thoughts and feelings without judgement.”

Lakshmi Priya, India Assistant Foreign Affairs Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs MA in Diplomacy, Law, and Business from O.P. Jindal Global University