By Vuthy Pisey,
From the very start, I did not know much about blogging or youth empowerment. I just knew that I loved writing and I had a lot of things to say to the world. But I lacked the courage to have my voice heard and I felt I didn’t have what it takes to start letting those words out through my writing. Things have changed since I entered UNICEF’s Voices of Youth Blogging Training Program 2018, where my blogging journey started, and where I have gradually found my voice and dared to shout it out to the world.
It was a very beautiful morning when all the young bloggers gathered at the head office of UNICEF Cambodia. We were a bit awkward with each other at first, but gradually we started to share our own story, dream and inspiration to be a blogger. We are from different backgrounds, but we meet here at VOY because we share the same goal of using our voice through writing to empower people and bring a positive impact on society. As we started to open up, we gradually felt close to each other. This greatly inspired and encouraged me to open up myself and address the issues that matter because I know I am not alone.
Through the program, I have learnt not only technical skills about blogging but also personal development skills. For the blogging, I have learnt about various styles of writing, copyright, cyber bullying, how to respond to criticism, creating a blog, Creative Commons, photography, etc., which gives me the power to write a powerful and inspiring blog. Before, I used any photo without thinking about copyright, credit or the photographer efforts to produce a nice shot. Now, I am more mindful about how I use the photo from an unknown source. I am also able to identify which news is fake by looking at its source.
Moreover, I also received inspiration and knowledge from guest speakers on the modern forms of blogging. I thought that blogging was only a type of personal writing, but I was impressed that blogging can also be used in many ways (for example, as a business, advertisement and media tool, etc). I learnt to understand my target audience, to think from their perspective and to use my voice to speak out for them and offer help.
During my blogging journey, there were a few obstacles along the way which made me want to stop sometimes. Writing a blog is hard; thinking and getting started to write is even harder. So, I somehow had no idea of what and how to write in a blog. I was afraid that my blog was not good enough or that I may write something which affects other people and causes hatred and criticism from the public. Also, as I am working full time, I was not able to attend most of the training classes and missed a lot of deadlines for blog submissions.
However, it was all thanks to my super inspiring trainer, Ms. Heng Sorita, who constantly gave me the courage to get started, helped me out when I got stuck, and provided me with strength and energy through her positive comments. Instead of criticizing, she has put a lot of effort and energy to guide and encourage me to keep writing and expressing myself without fear. Without her unconditional support, motivation and understanding, my blogging journey would have never been completed. She always made me feel like, “You can do it, I’ve got your back, keep moving forward and we are in this together”. I cannot explain how powerful and inspiring her comments are but that’s what kept me going and daring to say what was on my mind to the public.
I am very grateful for the chance to get into Voices of Youth Blogging Program and an opportunity to have my voice heard and to step out of my comfort zone. I will cherish all the beautiful moments we have made through the program and make the best use of the skills and blogging experience I have to empower people to use their voice, inspire them to follow their heart and be brave to chase their dream. As a blogger, I will always use my writing to represent the voice of others, to inspire for the positive change and to dare people to be a better version of themselves.
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.