By Rathana Puth
This blog was developed as part of the Voices of Youth blogging internship assignment requirement. Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.
“An inspiring person means someone who makes me feel like the work is fantastic, and also encourages me to do the same thing or something even better. When I get inspired by someone it gives me a lot of motivation and ideas on how to develop myself as well as help others,” said Mr. Veasna Ky, who is working as a project officer on Health Education at the Khmer Youth Association (KYA). He is the youngest staff at KYA; he has been managing two projects related to Water and Sanitation and Non-formal Education.
Khmer Youth Association (KYA) has a lot of projects to work on the development sector. Their mission is to upgrade and promote the participation of young people in human rights, democracy, peacebuilding, health, gender equality, education and vocational training in Cambodia.
I first met Mr.Veasna Ky recently at Unicef Cambodia. He is the leader of a volunteer group that I am involved in. At the age of 23, he has been inspiring so many young people by helping and giving them the opportunity to get involved in social work and volunteer work. Mr.Veasna himself has a lot of volunteering experience in many organizations. Currently he has been playing a role as president of the volunteer youth group called ASEAN Youth Leaders Association Cambodia (AYLA)
When I decided to do a VOY Inspire! Profile, an article about someone who is inspiring young people in my community, the first person I thought of was him. I think he inspires me a lot. He introduced me to KYA and also taught me a lot of things on how to become an socially active youth, even though we’ve only known each other for less than a month. So I decided to ask him some questions and thought maybe I could learn some more things from him.
What made you want to work at the non-government sector (KYA) and why?
I think because I had worked in the government sector as part of an internship. Also before that, I was an intern at the National Employment Agency (NEA), a government’s institution under Council of Ministers. So, I had already experienced working in both private and government sector. But I felt like these two sectors were not really about developing and helping people. Sometime they were but not in a direct way. I think the non-government sector is the best place for me to participate and contribute to the development of people’s lives, especially in rural areas.
What inspires you and how do you inspire others?
What inspires me is helping people who do not receive any support, either from the government or the people around them. I have seen many people spend their time and use their knowledge to help and make others happy. So as long as the work I’m doing helps people who is in need, that inspires me to take part.
And to inspire other people, I think I have to work my best in the NGO sector. I also spend my free time working with young people to give them the opportunity and confidence to develop themselves to stand out among youth in ASEAN and, most of all, to be able to achieve their dreams.
What tips do you have for youths who are looking to get involved in social work?
I would say young Cambodian people now are better with catching up with information about local and international news and access to more opportunities for their capacity development. They are more socialized and confidence in expressing themselves. They are brave to do what they want. However, that is not enough in this globalization which the world is developing so far and the job competition is getting more challenging. They need to grow faster and stronger to stay competitive in comparison to the regional community, ASEAN.
Which has been the most exciting project that you have been involved in to date? Tell us about this project.
Personally, I think there is no specific project that I find the most exciting, but I would say I find all the projects really exciting for me. I get to work with young people, nurturing them to be able to manage their own projects they can be more confident in themselves and make an impact. When I see young people who used to feel like they couldn’t do anything become confident individuals who believe in their potential, that’s really worth it for me.
Are there any challenges and how you deal with them?
Time is the first challenge. Young people are really busy nowadays. Most of them are busy with many things like schools, friends and families. So to be able to work with them, I have to be very flexible because I can’t always find the right time for the meeting. Everyone has their own responsibilities that do not allow them to participate with the project at times.
Commitment is also a very important challenge because working in a project takes time; whether they can spend their time or not is about their commitment. There were many volunteers who left the project before it is completed. So it is a big challenge that I have to overcome. I need to motivate them to keep them active and working together until the end of project.
Where do you see yourself in next five years time?
I haven’t thought about it yet, but I can say my dream is to lead an organization which develop young people’s potential to contribute to society. I also would like to challenge by participating in international events. I also have been thinking about whether I should get my master’s degree or not. I am really hoping to see myself as a leader of an internship working with young people. My goal is to help people but I’m not sure whether to do so as a social worker or leader of a youth group, or to get involved in politics.
Originally posted on Monday, September 26, 2016