Make the Earth Green Again

Source: Google

Another exploration, another workshop! If you’ve read through my exploration portfolio, you would have noticed that I’ve worked with people from outside a lot, particularly giving workshops. I just love working with people, and raising awareness about a particular issue in society as well as the country. Here I am giving another workshop with the theme of education about the environment. 

Trash is a huge problem in Cambodia. I’m sure that this is also a huge problem for other countries. We cannot stop the trash, but what we can do is change people’s behavior. This is one of the solutions that me and other students been working on. 

Me and my teammates are going to give a workshop to people about this problem. There are 7 unique stations that offer a variety of knowledge to the participants. I lead one of the stations which the participants will be given a chance to speak up about the environmental crisis, plastics pollution in particular through a round discussion. The goal of this discussion is to also enhance their environmental awareness as well as encourage others to take this as a critical community issue by knowing the amount of plastics that are thrown each year. The other topic that will be brought to the participants in my station is “technology”. Introducing three technology inventions (robot, satellite and 3D printing) to these Cambodia youth will be fascinating and helpful, because currently a lot of impact comes from technology and it helps us expand our knowledge through researching on the internet.

The most important lesson that I’ve learnt from this exploration is to learn how to manage my time wisely, in order to achieve your goal. Last but not least, I will not underestimate time again; 7 weeks is not short at all!

Cambodian Youth Outdoor Leadership Program (Continued)

In the past 7 weeks, I was continuing my journey of Cambodia Youth Program which we were getting to meet our participants for the first time. They are from KAPE, Kampong Cham province. We were getting to know each other by having a few activities and introducing them to the definition of Outdoor Leadership afterward. 

Here are some photos of our first workshop:

Introduction to Outdoor Leadership
Meet the Tree Activity
Group Photo of Participants and Leaders

In order to bring our potential participants into the forest, we needed to take Pre-trip and assessed the safety first. Therefore, we took a pre-trip to Aural Mountain, the highest mountain in Cambodia, Kampong Speu province. I would say that the terrain was very steep and it was quite challenging for me, since height is one of my biggest fears. However, we made it! 

Here are some photos of the Pre-trip:

Aural Mountain, the highest mountain in Cambodia

We’ve made a lot of progress so far! I’m looking forward to see this project being executed as part of the hope of change for the Kingdom of Cambodia. 

Cambodian Youth Outdoor Leadership Program

Last year, I was in one of the 7 weeks-project based learning where I and other 11 students went to Mondulkiri and Kirirom to seek the beauty of nature and observe each little piece inside the wilderness. I’ve learnt and changed a lot about my perspective toward nature. I also start to aware about impact from human factors toward our environment. Thus, as a change agent, we implement what we learn by creating a year long project where we’re on a mission to empower Cambodian youth to be outdoor leaders and environmental stewards by introducing them to natural spaces, raising awareness of conservation threats, and nurturing the passion and skills needed to positively impact their communities. 

Moreover, this project inspires, especially breaking the stereotype, “women belong to kitchen only”, for those young Cambodian women out there by providing them access to more sports;hiking. Many Cambodia women didn’t get the opportunity to be exposed to sports and outdoor activities, therefore it is very important to create this project and create empowerment. 

We are going to give the participants workshop and going on trip after. So far, we’re finalizing our workshop that consists of four categories; Leadership, Nature Appreciation, Medical & Risk Management and Wilderness Skills.

Additionally, this project based learning is not only teaches me about working and brainstorming, but also teaching me to be a good leader, because I’m always shy when it comes to leading someone, especially in the big group of unfamiliar faces. This exploration also enhances my critical thinking and creativity, which means I need to put myself into participants shoes to try to make this workshop as efficient as possible, because they are very new to this type of topic. 

Overall, I’m very excited to implement my knowledge and share it to Cambodia youth to become an outdoor leaders and see the impact we work together to change the Kingdom of Cambodia. 

Escape the Ordinary

Photo by: Chanda Cheng

It is rare for a person that lives in the city that is surrounded by electricity, modern infrastructure and technology to have a chance to look at beautiful nature. To me, nature is something that occurs by itself and it is our friends. Since technology has been exposed to us, we forget about what nature has offered to us. I never went hiking in my life until I came to Liger Leadership Academy. At the end of year 1, everyone went hiking for 8 km at Kep province. I was pretty exhausted, however, the beauty of nature didn’t make me feel that way. In fact, it pushed me to get involved in hiking more. I really hope that I will have this splendid time again. Fortunately, my wish came true. It was the second hike of my life. Me and other 11 students went to two provinces in Cambodia (Kampong Speu & Mondulkiri). I got this second chance through project-based learning called “Outdoor Leadership”. 

I had three main goals for these trips. They were learning more about the environment there, seeing new animals/plants and taking risks & overcoming fears. Keeping myself hydrated is also important because health is one of life’s priorities. After I learned about the 4 leadership styles & roles, I was also interested in using at least one of them during the trip. 

During the Kirirom trip, I had a lot of fun and I did a very good job of being an active follower. However, we didn’t really engage much during trekking. Therefore, my plan for the next trip was to be engaging and showing as much enthusiasm as I can to make this journey more fun. 

Like one of our group members said, Mondulkiri was a very challenging trip. It really was because there are a lot of challenges and risks that we had to go through together as a team. Moreover, everything about this Mondulkiri trip went beyond my expectations. 

Photo by: Chornson Sum

First things first, I had to overcome my fear of heights. I feel a sense of panic and anxiety when I am at a high place. However, staying at a high place with beauty didn’t give me a sense of fear at all. After I had overcome my fear of heights, there was still an obstacle which is the leeches. It was my first time seeing leeches. Seeing them bite one of the teammates, I started shaking. I almost couldn’t continue the journey because it scared and creeped me out. At the end, I won’t give up on what I’m doing because we almost reached our destination. I believe that we have to assess the risk and understand about it first before starting to feel panic. Soon after, one of our teammates got bitten by the leech. I was close to her, but I was also afraid of it, but I couldn’t ignore it and left her like that. That’s why I had to step up and become comfortable with the uncomfortable. I hesitated to pick that leech with my bare hands, but that’s what I had to do to achieve this goal to “take risks and overcome fears” which I’ve mentioned before. After the fear of leeches was over, we encountered the steep way. It might be the steepest way that I’ve ever walked on. We had to be very cautious to avoid injuries. To me, I’m very proud of the teammates on our collaboration and communication. We used the sign called “Red Light, Yellow Light, and Green Light” that we used to determine our trekking speed. Red Light means to stop. Yellow Light means to trek slowly and Green Light means to continue. Everyone did a great job with listening and understanding each other even though they were good to continue while there was one person or people who wouldn’t be able to. Talking about communication, it happened to not only me, but other students as well about speak up for ourselves which we called “self-advocate”. There were challenges that will make us stop and take our packs off such as being exhausted, dehydrated, injured, etc. If we don’t speak up and let our teammates continue, our problems would keep going. That’s why it is very important to speak up before the problem gets worse. 

After a long journey of hiking with steep and leeches, we came back along with the rain. When we came back to the campsite, I was disappointed because the tents were wet and most of our clothes got wet and we had two days more to go. But this exploration taught me to have hope. Instead of focusing on problems, we worked on the solution instead. We decided to sleep at the tour guide’s house and hoped it would not rain tomorrow. At the end of the day, we were happy with what we had and what we did. 

I believe that those leeches, thunder storms, going through the steep way are worth it. Like a quote says “There is a light at the end of the tunnel”. We got to see the beautiful waterfalls, birds, plants and elephant. That might be the most rewarding part of this trip. 

One specific thing that I could have done more is to be more curious about nature. I could have asked more questions and learned more about the environment there. The trees, creatures, waterfall, and everything is so perfect that they deserve to be known and visited. 

Overall, the journey with these amazing people gave me one of the best moments of my life. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to be surrounded by nature and learn about leadership in outdoors. If there’s another chance to have another time like this again, I would be very ecstatic to join!

Humans of Cambodia Exploration

Can you tell humans stories through photos? How would you tell that stories? People have different perspectives and points of view. I and other 14 students were in a 7 weeks project that under the theme of “Not judging a book by its cover”. We’re collecting and documenting people’s stories from variety of community in Cambodia. 

Here’s a few photo include caption that we’ve interviewed:

“My husband and I work together to get income for our family. He does fishing and and I take those fish to sell. We do what we can do.”

“My mom is a strong woman, even though she face million of problems. My dad always violence and argue with my mom, but my mom never leave me she always stay with me and encourage me to be strong.”

“My first child is a babysitter at Phnom Penh which is far from where I live. My second child is a motorbike washer. My third child is illiterate. He failed his study and lives without education. It gives me very hard time. I became sick and was diagnosed with scoliosis. I vomited for 3 months long. My first child rarely visits me and I miss her so bad. I think I would’ve died by now. Luckily, a Christian group came here and helped me go to hospital and receive medicine. Because of them I feel better and am glad that I’m alive.”

There’s more and more stories that we got. Not only got, but learning from their stories as well. If those stories interested you and if you want to know more about humans of Cambodia story, check . 

Kui Indigenous Community

On the dusty road toward Kui community that is located in Bongkern Phal village, Rom Tom commune, Rovieng district, Preah Vihear province, the communication skill was prepared, held a pen and a paper with a confident smile. The stars and moon came out, but we didn’t focus on them. We are eager to get the information for our marvelous product, which is my second book publishing. 

Every single one of us was very confident and wouldn’t give up even if the information doesn’t match what they wanted. There are several Kui people that we interviewed. Friendly and kind are what I would describe them. 

There are totally 10 themes in the book. My theme is Belief and Norm. Here’s the sneak peek of the book:


When someone feels not well, they use a metal shaft to determine whether they’re sick or not. They put a few pieces of rice on top and let it move. If the metal moves from left to right, it means that that person is healthy. If it moves front to back, it means that the person is sick. When someone is sick the community believe in spirit offering, prayer, and traditional herb.


This belief was believed a long time ago which nowadays there’s not a belief about this. Kui people wear a red bracelet to protect them from being cursed. Some of them got the red bracelet by going to a wedding as well. In addition, some of them also have a tattoo which they think will protect them. A long time ago, a lot of them would stick a metal nail into their bicep. They believed this could protect them from cuts and burns. Interestingly, they don’t cut their hair and sell it to others because they believe their hair will be used for cursing them.

On Febuary 5th, we went and verify the information with Stieng. To make this book accurate, we are making sure that Kui people agree with what we’re inserting in the book. We’re gathering in a group and discuss what should we add and what should we get rid off. 

As one of the members of this exploration, I’m hoping to get this book distributed and promoting Indigenous people culture to every belove reader!

Traditional Food Exploration

What came up first to your mind when you heard about Traditional Food Exploration? It is one of my explorations this year. Documentary, Photos, Communication, Passion, Risks taking are all about this exploration. After a few weeks of discussion about what our exploration is, we took a Siem Reap trip toward the journey of creating our final product which is We went to 3 restaurants; Mahob, Cuisine Wat Damnak, Sugar Palm. In addition, we also went to market and street food seller to understanding more about food in Cambodia. Below are the interesting facts, quotes, and pictures along this amazing journey throughout our exploration. 

Day 1: Street Food

Day 2: Mahob Restaurant

Chef: Sothea Seng


Khmer Rice Noodle Making

Day 3: Cuisine Wat Damnak

Chef: Joannès Rivière

Day 4: Sugar Palm

Chef: Kethana 

Chefs and Sellers quotes:


The Geography of Cambodia Book-Publishing

The Geography of Cambodia Book Publishing is an exploration that I’ve been working on for two years long. Junior Cohort had been traveling around Cambodia, researching and doing a lot of interviewing as well. I’ve been to six provinces which are in the central and northern part of Cambodia. They are Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, and Oddar Meanchey.  We did a lot of research for information in a reliable and credible source as well. Some of the information is from the transcript from Minister of Department of Culture and Fine Art as well. There’s nothing more fun than this; discovering new things, adventurous and learn from it!

Now, here we are in the final stage of publishing this marvelous book. There are 10 members who responsible for different 4 regions. Our design team used a software called “Adobe Indesign” to design the book, but we also used the other software to design the graphics that included in our book as well such as Photoshop, Illustrator etc. On the other hand, the information has to be concise. I enjoy doing this designing, discovering the new tools in Adobe and stretching my brain to think more critically and creatively. 

As we’re reading through our book, we feel that we should input more of students voices into the book. That’s why our team came up with the add-ons which are Traditional Belief, Did you know?, Student Observation and Watch out. These add-ons are written from our students who have visited those places. We will include those in the part of the book because we want the reader to understand the Liger students’ perspective of visiting those places.

Not only this, everyone agreed that The Geography of Cambodia book had too much written texts which might lose the reader’s interest. Therefore, the idea of creating more visuals for the text came to our minds. This meant inserting more graphics in the book, which is one of my favorite highlights from this exploration. 

Icons for the book:

  • Student Observation (the one with the camera)
  • Watch out (the red spear)
  • Did you know (sticky note)
  • Folklore is the orange rectangle with the text on it

I learnt a lot of skills throughout this exploration. One of the big skills or characteristic is “Calculated Risk Taker”. For me, I had never used Photoshop or any Adobe software before. It is one of the challenges I had faced throughout the process of making graphics design. Be patient is also the thing that not for only me, but everyone should have it.  I always say to myself to not give up on what I am doing, because this is the first remarkable product I’ve created. I get out of my comfort zone to try this and the result was amazing. I’ve learned a lot of things; not just only designing skill. Now, I get familiar to it and I feel very proud of myself of what I’m doing! 

Overall, I had a fabulous time here by doing something new to myself. I can’t wait to see the books published as well as my teammates do. If there is another exploration that similar to this, I certainly willing to join it. Last but not least, after the book published I hope that everyone learns and proud of our book; well they will!

Software or website that we use to design and make graphics in The Geography of Cambodia book:

  1. ArcGIS
  2. Flaticon
  3. Adobe Illustrator
  4. InDesign
  5. Photoshop
  6. Google Drawing