Monthly Archives: April 2012

I think I am changing now! My dream did come true when i am 21!

Reflection on CTEP, from YI Rasi, Cambodia

Smile

Before the program, i did not have much expectation from the program. All I knew was that I was selected to participate in the program and I had to do my best as a productive and energetic Cambodian participant. I did not know much about what was going to happen in the program. All I knew was just a brief schedule

The experiences I have encountered during the 7-day program did exceed my expectation. I have learned a lot of new things in life. That is, I have done what I never dared to do in my past, my terrible past in which I was scared of doing almost anything. Now, I think I have changed, and have phased to another new courageous and confident person. However, this is just a beginning of my new me, the one who does not have to suffer from low self-esteem and low confidence, and lack of love and trust.

To me, this CTEP is a so special and so unforgettable memory. I have experienced many incredibly-amazing first-time life events. And now I am ready to tell you what they are.

CTEP was my very first exchange program.
It was my very first time to have Thai friends.
It was my very first time to stay away from my mom for a week.
It was my very first time I could perform on stage as a main actor, Nadech.
It was my very first time that I was brave enough to share my personal story.
It was my very first time that I felt there was someone who understands.
It was my very first time I felt there’s no one making any judgments on me.
It was the very first inspiring program that i could gain back my confidence, love and courage, which i have lost during the past years.
It was my very first time I felt “caring, love, and pride” from my heart.
It was my very first time I was kissed by a girl friend.
It was my very first time i received a lot of warm hugs.

we learn from sharing from a word to a sentence....

Moreover, thanks to CTEP, I have got to know many good-hearted people. Like Khmer and like Thai, we came here with the same purpose, to build peace and love between our nations. And during the camp, I felt greatly touched and amazed by each and every participant, especially Thai friends. I, as one Cambodian youth, have grabbed every moment to get to know and understand each of them. And thanks to each special session from group discussion, family group, quiet time and sharing, to out-and-in-room activities, 7 days and 7 nights together have given us enough time to share experiences, stories, knowledge, love, care, and mutual understanding among one another. Everyone has a strong commitment to change. Everyone has a warm heart. Everyone is special. Everyone is unique. Everyone is friendly. Everyone cries, but is strong. Everyone might share different ideas, but we always stick to the same goal. Learn from mistakes, learn from one another. We share and we give, we exchange spirit and soul. Sometimes we learn to forget and forgive. We understand and we love one another. We hug and we cry together. Your story reflects my own story, and you cry and I shed my tears along. We appreciate what we have been shared. Some of you have given me a very special moment in life, and I appreciate it so much indeed.

each moment is counted

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ CTEP and everyone ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ to the max!

I think I am changing now! My dream did come true when i am 21!
My Life is going to shine thanks to CTEP.
I learnt a lot of lessons about a Happy Life.
I am willing to bring Love to my family, to my friends, and to myself, and i am doing it now.

“Changes start from us.”
“If not now, when?”
“If not me, who?”

Again, I am so grateful to both Thai and Cambodian committee who have made this program happen! You have given us the very best camping program i ever joined in. Also, my dearest Thai and Cambodian participating friends, without you, I wouldn’t dare to change to be a very better person! Thank you all, and Love you all from the bottom of my heart.

we are starting now

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Searching Truth,……..she found out, they didn’t differ from us.

loving and understanding

Always been told whom to trust and who are not us

And without asking I believed without a fuss.

 

I had a picture perfectly portrayed,
From bits and pieces that my surroundings provided me in a tray.

Told not to be friend and treat them like complete strangers,
Like from different worlds, but in fact we’re neighbors.
For this little girl didn’t know what was held beyond that line,
So she never questioned and always thought her mind-set was “fine”,

Until one day she finally acknowledged that something wasn’t right…
Determined to explore reality, she went on a quest with all her might…
No more stories or tales from others to tell her what they are like,
For she was gonna experience them herself whether different or alike.
But to confess it wasn’t easy to at start for there were no clues,

Then along came CTEP, which practically dragged her out of the blues.
For CTEP; meaning Cambodian-Thai Exchange Program was more than merely just another plain ordinary camp!

It was a place where her love for different kinds unfolded,
Erasing all understandings and images she was ever told.
With an opened heart, she tried learning and reaching out to touch,
From doing that she found out, they didn’t differ from us.
In fact there is no such thing as “enermies”, “others” or “US”,
For it is all imaginary and built on the basis of distrust.
If there were more loving and understanding… surely nothing can come between us,
Devastatingly our societies weren’t ready for that and it makes my heart crush.

It was a place where her love for different kinds unfolded

Conflicts, National interests and border disputes; they force us to distrust,
Oh come on, quit the arguing it is driving me “nuts”!
Why do you keep letting others tell you how to feel?
When you know that history, media and discourses aren’t even real!
Don’t easily believe them and follow their flow,
Be bold, swim against the currents and tell society what you know.
Weave your ultimate dream into a world of something new,
A place for everyone to stand and have a chance, not just to benefit a few.

If you ask me what I got from CTEP, I would say “too much, very much”,
Everything and everyone there expanded my horizons of love and trust.

There in the midst of the Sihanoukville hills,
Was where the holes in my heart began to fill…
Thanks to CTEP, at last I could make it right,
My hates and prejudices within was out of sight….

Now I can freely love and live my life

Experience from Cambodian-Thai Exchange Program 2011 by Siwaree Limwanitsin, Thailand

we work in the team

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Live&Learn – It is Here Where a Bridge Has Been Built Between Each Other’s Hearts

Experience from Cambodian-Thai Exchange Program 2011 by Thiratri Buasri, Thailand

I’m a traveler who loves to learn. I like to share smiles and laughter with all those people around me, even though sometimes it might be too much (“ha ha” Can’t stop laughing when I seemyself talk a lot). I do! A human life is born and another dies. ‘Why do we make ourselves feel sad?’I believed that before we can share happiness with someone, it must start from within ourselves, from deep feelings of an unconditional heart.  Whatever the reason, “Peace” can’t happen if physical, mental and emotional states are not designed to work together in harmony, and are hostile in our souls. ‘One must have self-love and self-respect before you give it to other people.’

team work

Cambodia is a neighboring country in the Mekong region; it is

we are ready to work in the team

a place I wanted to visit to learn their way of life, a culture no less interesting than any nation in the world. While I was browsing a site with an article ‘Stop the warbetween Thailand and Cambodia’ I was trying to link to it when I saw the announcement for an exchange program between Cambodian and Thai youth. As soon as I started to read the details of the program I found myself having an immediate personal connection. It felt something beginning and before long I was a part of a wonderful project, of building understanding and respect between our two countries.  ‘It was something beginning and I’m looking forward to starting the second half of my life.’

On the first day of my trip to Cambodia, to participate in the exchange program “CTEP” I really did not think of anything more than having new experiences. At the border between Thailand and Cambodia I met with Rany, a Cambodian friend, who had been waiting for us since early morning. From the border we talked together all the way to the resort arriving in the afternoon. First, all of us, Thai and Cambodian, had lunch together. Everyone introduced each other and talked among each other while eating.  It was a very warm atmosphere.  After lunch, arrangements for accommodation were announced, who was to stay with whom. I was sharing with four participating friends together in the same accommodation; with one Cambodian friend called Sotheara and the rest were Thai (from ‘Isaan’ in north-east of Thailand). At the time I imagined, that since we were from Isaan, Sotheara would probably be learning more of the Lao Language than of Thai!  At first, we were in our own worlds, not revealing ourselves too much, but perhaps that it is not uncommon for people who do not know each other well and have not spent time learning from each other.

Cultural Night with Theara

The second night was the culture exchange show. I began to see people starting to eye each other with a meaningful smile, that this day is the start for us. Especially with the last Cambodian friend’s performance, which did not end, as we all came out and danced all night long! I saw such happy smiles, so warm; I can’t explain it, how excellent it was. Even myself, I had not laughed like this for a very long time. ‘Really happy.’ 

The everyday activities that we did together, such as ‘Quiet Time’, ‘Family Group’ and ‘Workshop’ had the concepts to be honest with yourself, each us to think, speak out and to be a good listener. A specific outdoor activity later in the day, involved all of us having to step on a rope together! With the right foot stepping on the left foot of another person who is next to them we need to stand in a single row. ‘Oh well!’, ‘How can we do this?’ Suddenly, there were too many voices talking and no one was listening to anyone. I had to walk away and sit outside and wait for everyone to calm down, then sit back and listen to all their suggestions. Finally, everyone began to listen and we thought we found the way. Then we just did it, even though the weather was very hot, by supporting each other we kept trying and didn’t give up. We moved forward together towards the same goal, on the same rope, and it is called ‘The bond of peace that links our hearts as one.’

we are ONE

These are things that made my whole life change completely.  Thank you for the wonderful peace project “CTEP”, to Khun Netting, Khun Ying and all who were involved. Thank you for the great opportunity that you put it into my hands. Thank you for the love and respect I received from other

we are brotherhood

participants in the program, and thanks to fate and destiny. So far, we have come to life and learned from each other. We have built a bridge between each other’s hearts. In fact, I did not only win new friends, but beyond that, I’ve got the most amazing feeling that everyone is a part of my family.

This is what I got from participating in this program.

In Peace We Trust, In Us We Change

Written by Chanvetey Vann, Ornicha Tantiwechwuttikul, Pachara Sungden

We are ONE

“Before I came here I felt afraid. We have negative feelings toward each other, but if we don’t make ourselves come close to them, we will never know,” said Sambo Prak, a Cambodian participant in 1st Cambodia-Thai Exchange Program. “But when I am here, I really enjoy living with them.”

Cambodian-Thai Exchange Program (CTEP) is a seven-day youth camp takes place on November 7th to 13th 2011 with total fifty-five participants from both countries. The youth camp is organized by Initiatives of Change Association (ICA) in cooperation with Thai Volunteer Services (TVS) in purpose of restoring and strengthening the relationship between Cambodia and Thailand. This youth camp allows participants from both countries have a chance to create better understanding and mutual trust as well as alleviate discrimination and prejudice in personal level.

The camp is conducted under the theme “Let’s Learn to Live Together”. “We need a space where we can live and share experience together,” said Saksinee Emasiri Thanakulmas (Ying), a committee from Thailand. “Unlike many other conferences where political issues are heavily discussed, CTEP allows people of the two countries to first-handedly develop understanding and reshape their perception by actually living together.” She continued.

Throughout the program, a variety of activities are introduced such as family group, workshop, peace and conflict-related discussions, cultural night and so on, to break the invisible wall and encourage participants to be opened and learn more about each other. These activities eventually bring the two together as one, despite all the differences.

Not only did they learn from their friends, but also did they come to understand themselves better through the reflection of others’ stories. Quiet Time, one of the daily-based activities, enables participants to sit quiet and listen to their inner voice. “During the day, how many times you listen to your inner voice?” asks Sovathana Neang (Nana), a Cambodian committee.
A topic is given each quiet time such as family issue, relationship problem, childhood experience and so on, to assist participants to open up their mind. After a moment of quietness, with a lot of comfort ready to give and hearts ready to hear, many participants start to share their story, and it is then that a sense of trust gradually develops.

When asked about his impression toward to CTEP, Poramet Parkpian, a Thai participant and Ubon Ratchathani University student, said, “CTEP is a university of peace, love and understanding.” In spite of the fact that Cambodia and Thailand are geographically apart, the hearts of the two countries people have never been separated. If only the political leaders encounter such program that their people do, till then only peace remains.

Cambodian-Thai Exchange Program 2011