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My UNPFII Experience

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By Miss Sophac Thach

For the second time, I had the opportunity to participate in the Seventh Session at the United Nation of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) during the week of April 28th 2008.

It was a remarkably exciting week in which I had the chance to meet many elders and youth members from different parts of the world once again. I also got the chance to meet new youth members.

It was amazing how little effort one can contribute to this worthy cause could inspire so many people. During our stay in Philadelphia and New York City, the Khmer Krom families there welcomed us with open arms. I can never thank them enough for their generosity in supporting our youth teams and for funding our stay through the two-week conference at New York City.

In this year’s conference, it was certainly a stepping stone for me where I was exposed to something that I have never imagined before. In the week of April 28th, some of our youth leaders like Serey Chau and Sothy Kien were not able to continue their participation into the second week conference because of work related matters and other responsibilities.

Attending the UNPFII without our youth leaders was quite a scary experience. At the last year’s conference, with the participation of our youth leaders leading the way, it seems like I did not have to worry about anything because I knew that I could depend on them. This year, it was quite different because we had to reorganize the work for all youth members and assigned task between ourselves in order to get the work done.

For the first time this year, I had the opportunity to present the speech on Future Work to the Permanent Forum. I was quite nervous when presenting the speech, but I did what I had to do, and I was glad that I managed to get through it. Click here to read/ watch speech

With the helping hands of our team members like our team leaders from Canada, Jeffery Kim, Romy Thach from France, as well as, Somaly Thach, Cathy To and of course our Khmer-Kampuchea Krom Federation President, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach an Dr. Joshua Cooper, with their big contributions, we managed to get through the week successfully.

It was very inspiring to see the youths from all around the globe managed to come together and able to work with one another in fighting for a worthwhile cause, even though some of us have just met for the first time. This kind of relationship and bond certainly proofs that the Khmer Krom people are one big family no matter where we are in the world. We will always stand by each other when it comes to fighting for our people’s rights. With everyone contributing a little bit of their time, we can help raise awareness and help bring the reality of our peoples’ lives to the international community.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the people in our homeland.