Programe 2008
Children’s Day
Campaign Against Dengue
Campaign Going to School
As special points of its programe in 2007, KCD organised

- The celebration of the Children’s Day on 1st June
- A campaign against dengue on 15 September
- A campaign to encourage going to school on 17 October

The celebration of the Children’s Day was hold on the school ground in Inner Prek Chrey Village and supported by

ZFD, the German Civil Peace Service from DED
AFSC, the American Friends Service Committee
FSD, the Social Development Found from the French Embassy

Further support:
The Heinrich Böll Foundation
and CWS, the Church World Service
 

This festivity constituted the first step for reducing the hostile feelings of the Khmer inhabitants of Prek Chrey towards the Vietnamese majority established since decades on the territory of the commune. On the other hand, it was to foster the attention of the Vietnamese for the concerns of the Khmer community. KCD decided to give the priority to the work with the children of both communities, because they will be able more easily than their parents to abandon the old clichés and to achieve a change of mentality.

The Preparation Phase
In the 5 weeks till the 1st of June training has been offered to Khmer and Vietnamese children in drawing and painting on the theme of peace as well as sport training for Khmer-Vietnamese mixed teams in football and volleyball.

The theme about the Peace has been inter­preted by the children on very different ways, and with sometimes quite individual techniques. About 50 pictures were shown in the ex­hibition on 1st June

Football and Volleyball Training:
The children from both communities were invited to participate to the training. A condition for their participation was that each child applies together with a member of the other community.

Five of the Khmer-Vietnamese children couples

Girls have been especially encouraged to enrol. A surprise was that Vietnamese girls showed no interest for volleyball, all of them wanting to play football. Therefore some “double-mixed” teams have been formed, in which Khmer and Vietnamese boys and girls played together. In order to facilitate the communication inside of the groups, each team has been accompanied by a young minder able to speak both Khmer and Vietnamese.

The official celebration consisted in the morning of the 1st June in a ceremony with more than 600 participants, including 350 Khmer and 160 Vietnamese children, about 30 teachers from surrounding villages and communes (3 of them were Vietnamese teachers from the school in Vietnam that is visited by most of the ethnic Vietnamese from Prek Chrey), representatives of the parents of the Khmer children, 30 Khmer officials and 30 Vietnamese officials from the An Phou, the Vietnamese  district on the other side of the Bassac River. Speeches were hold in both languages and translated. The special theme of the Children’s Day of this year was Against Domestic Violence. This theme as well as the other Child’s Rights and the Friendship between both communities were in the centre of the speeches.

Children of both communities danced and sang, showing each other the own tradition

After the official part of the celebration, the participants visited the exhibition with the childrenís paintings, the football and volleyball games, and the performances and games on the stage.
Whereas the Khmer MCs had no problem entertaining the young Khmer audience, it was some more difficult for the Khmer-Vietnamese MCs to translate life for the Vietnamese guests, as they had to follow the effervescent rhythm of the events. But language was not the only way of communication between both communities, and the enjoyment about the party could be seen on all faces.

Impressions from the Celebration
Children and adults of both communities spontaneous and repeatedly expressed their joy about this unique fair. Several times the members of KCD have been asked to repeat next year the Celebration of the Childrenís Day together with the Vietnamese.
KCD knows about the reluctance of the Khmer inhabitants to mix up with their Vietnamese neighbours. In this day, thus, they obviously enjoyed playing and competing together, and their parents and relatives didnít seem to have any problems with it.

Children of both nationalities assessed that it was less difficult to play together as they feared at the beginning. The minders as well as the children testified that the use of hurtful insults significantly reduced between them. What is more: some children of both nationalities formed a solid friendship in the time of the past 5 weeks. Lots of the children expressed their wish to continue the training for the next months under the conditions wanted by KCD (each child must have a partner from the other community). As KCD found out in the last time, the children of both communities who have been training and playing together now greet and smile to each other friendly when their meet on the street, even if they still don’t speak each other’s language.

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#12C, St.408, Tuol Tompong II, Phnom Penh Phone: 023 358 177, 012 478 381 (Khmer/English) 012 216 386 (French/German/English) E-mail: youth_kcd@yahoo.com