Apply to Join

Help Cambodians end family and community violence

by Peace Bridges Organization
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Help Cambodians end family and community violence
Kong is a village chief in rural Preah Vihear
Kong is a village chief in rural Preah Vihear

“I used to abuse my power in the past because I thought I had that right as a leader,” said Kong, a 50-year old village chief in Preah Vihear province.

“I was afraid to speak honestly with people who did something wrong, especially if I knew they had connections to rich and powerful people. I also didn’t like to work with poor community people,” he recalled. Kong said his attitudes and behaviors changed a lot since studying in Peace Bridges’ Conflict Resolution & Transformation course.

Kong has learned to lead his community by being a good role model. “I learned to control my emotions and treat everyone as equals,” he said. He thinks he's a stronger leader because he is equipped with tools like conflict resolution and communication skills. It's not his power that makes him a leader, it's how he influences people through his own positive actions.

Now when someone in the community does something wrong he follows the law. In addition to that, he tries to build good relationships with people so he can talk openly and honestly with them, regardless of who they are.

One day, Kong was driving his motorbike to his farm that he works on in his free time. “I saw one villager who I knew was very poor but he wasn’t going to work on his farm. In the past, I would have judged him as lazy.” Kong said that Peace Bridges taught him to think critically and withhold judgment. “This time, however, I thought about why this guy didn’t go to work instead of judging him.”

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Sok now helps to clean, cook, and wash clothes
Sok now helps to clean, cook, and wash clothes

Sok lives with his wife in Kampong Chnang province where they farm a plot of land. Prior to studying with Peace Bridges, Sok did not help his wife with housework and frequently argued with her.

“I was impatient. I didn’t understand my wife’s feelings and needs,” Sok reflected. When they disagreed, he found it was difficult to acknowledge his own mistakes and forgive her.

“One day, I returned home to see that there was no food to eat. I was so upset and yelled at my wife because I thought she didn’t care about me. Why else would she not cook any food?” Sok’s wife was upset that he never helped out at home, so she told some work colleagues. When Sok found out, he was embarrassed and upset.

Later, Sok studied conflict resolution and nonviolent communication with Peace Bridges. He let go of destructive habits and adopted a nonjudging attitude, patience, and started practicing forgiveness. “My relationships benefited a lot from these changes,” he said. “Now I always practice these with my wife, friends, and neighbors.”

“Recently, I told my wife I wanted to eat fried chicken. She wanted to eat boiled chicken. And so we had a disagreement,” he recounted. This time, however, Sok had the tools to handle the conflict well. “I managed to calm down and consider my wife’s perspective. We decided to split the chicken and make two kinds so that she also had the chicken she loves.”

“Now I help my wife to manage our home. I cook, clean, and wash too,” Sok said. “My wife doesn’t yell at me or the children anymore,” he added.

 (Sok's name was changed to respect his confidentiality)

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Mr. Kho is raising cows to support his family.
Mr. Kho is raising cows to support his family.

Mr. Kho lives with his family near a protect forest area. He volunteers to help protect the forest from illegal loggers. He and the other forest protects started to studying nonviolence and conflict resolution  with Peace Bridges. During the longterm trainings, he started to reflect on his relationship to his family.

“I used to smoke and drink a lot of alcohol,” said Mr. Kho. A lot of his money was spent on alcohol, which caused conflicts in his family. When he studied with Peace Bridges, Mr. Kho realized that his own habits were preventing his family from becoming financially stable.

“I realized that my family income was low because I never prioritized my family. I decided to cut back on my drinking and smoking so that I can save money.” Now Mr. Kho has saved enough to buy a small rice mill, water pump, motorbike, and he even built a new home for his family. He built a bathroom for his family, something they never had before.

“I am able to help my family and fellow forest protectors to resolve their conflicts, especially with local authorities and the illegal loggers. People respect me for this. I’m also pleased that I have achieved a better life than before.

“Nowadays, my life is easier and my family is doing well. We have a cashew farm and raise cows. I am more helpful around the house and I don’t drink and smoke anymore.”

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Staff reflect on alcohol advertising in Cambodia
Staff reflect on alcohol advertising in Cambodia

Peace Bridges staff have been studying alcohol abuse, emotional pain and trauma, and counseling practices. These issues touch the lives of many people who study peace and conflict resolution with Peace Bridges. In the field, peacebuilders must often address the effects of alcoholism, domestic violence, and trauma in their communities.

Alcohol abuse is closely tied to numerous problems including domestic violence, poverty, traffic accidents, and gender inequality in Cambodia. Cambodian men drink on average 9.7 liters of alcohol, an amount far exceeding Cambodian women. The global average is 6.2 liters of alcohol (Asia Foundation). A UN survey of 2,000 Cambodian men found that 1 in 5 of the respondents had attempted or committed acts of violence against women (UNDP). Though alcohol never makes someone violent, the issues are connected. People often dismiss a man’s violent behavior because of alcohol. Thus Cambodian women not only experience this violence but also the financial consequences of their partner’s overspending on alcohol.

In addition to their own work as peace trainers, the Peace Bridges staff have engaged in many learning opportunities to build their own capacity. In March and April, they studied the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)/Al-Anon model and trauma healing and plan to integrate AA into their trainings. On April 8, they joined the first professional health counseling conference at University of Puthisastra in Phnom Penh. On April 27, 25 women from various Cambodian institutions met at the PBO office to learn and share about self-care.

These and other opportunities are preparing our staff to better engage in complex social and emotional issues. We hope that by improving our own capacity we can heal our own traumas and better serve the people of Cambodia.

Learning about alcohol abuse and trauma
Learning about alcohol abuse and trauma
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Samorn is a pastor and leader at the youth center in her community. She studied conflict resolution and peace with Peace Bridges in 2018.

“I’ve had many conflicts with people in my community, especially the people I work with and with the youth. We often bickered and I used hurtful words with them. Inside, I felt inferior to my co-workers who I thought were more intelligent. Sometimes I wanted to take revenge or ignore them."

"Through the training and reflection process, I’ve gained self confidence and now try to tackle these conflicts by improving my communication with them. I ask the person who is upset with me to talk. If we talk, we usually resolve the conflict. But if they don’t respond right away, now I can wait patiently until they want to engage with me.”

Samorn has become an asset in her faith community as a conflict mediator. By studying with Peace Bridges, she learned mediation techniques that she now applies in mediations with people at church.

"We meet in an appropriate setting and pray together. If the people are hostile towards each other, I bring in another person to sit with us. When I mediate, I’m able to mediate and facilitate better outcomes than before because I listen, am patient, and use the mediation process. I encourage people to listen to and try to understand each other. This impacts people at the heart-level and they experience change. People who are suffering inside or accusing each other are able to let go of their pain and need for revenge.”

Another important change Samorn experienced is regarding how she views people who are different. “I used to be prejudiced against Vietnamese people and Cambodian-Vietnamese people. I thought that they were bad people with bad thoughts who did bad things. I thought they wanted to steal Cambodian land and take over our country and get rich off of us. These thoughts kept bitterness in my heart. Now I understand that these thoughts are harming me as well as others. I've decided to let go of these negative and distorted thoughts. I now see the intrinsic value in these and all other people.”

"I want to keep serving and helping people in my country to address conflict and heal their relationships.”

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Peace Bridges Organization

Location: Phnom Penh - Cambodia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Audrey Thill
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.