Two students will be flying the flag for Cambodia to share their experiences of disasters at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, Switzerland, May 19-23. Here, 17-year-old Hengmeang and 18-year-old Sophoeurn blog about their hopes for the summit.
The Future We Want by Sophoeurn
My name is Sophoeurn. I live in Srei Snom district, Siem Reap province, Cambodia. I am a girl, 18 years old. I have three brothers and four sisters. I am studying in grade 11 at 28 Makara High School. My village experiences floods, drought and storms. I am a leader of the children council’s at my school.
I am so glad to have the opportunity to attend the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) in Geneva on 19-24 May. At the GPDRR, I hope I will have a chance to share and learn from other children about implementing disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities in schools and communities. I especially want to see children’s voices heard and accepted by participants.
From my point of view, the participation of children and young people in DRR is very important as children can be leaders or decision-makers to contribute to development in their own communities now and in the future. In addition, when children and young people know how to reduce disaster risks, they can better protect themselves from different kinds of risks and they can also help with DRR activities that can make communities and schools safe.
To give you an example, I lead the children’s council at my school and together we worked with the local commune council to put DRR into the commune investment plan. I strongly suggest to the government and NGOs to listen to children’s voices because only children can understand their own problems and needs.
The future that I want is to live in a community where government leaders know and support DRR and allow more children and young people like me to participate in identifying risks, planning for disasters, implementation and reviewing what difference it all makes.
The Future We Want by Hengmeang
My name is Hengmeang. I live in Kampong Cham province in Cambodia. I am a boy, 17 years old. I have two sisters and three brothers. I study in grade 12 at Sreng Kim High School. I am a leader of the Child Advocacy Network (CAN) in Sreo Ngeou commune and a member of the Young Council Cambodia (YCC).
I am very happy that I was selected to participate in the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) in Geneva. My expectations for the global platform are: first to get new experiences from other children around the world working on DRR; and second to learn new solutions to reduce disasters affecting children. I plan to share with other children my knowledge and experience on disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Cambodia at the global platform. If I have the chance, I want to share my experiences of promoting children’s rights in Cambodia, which I usually do by training other children to help them understand their rights.
I believe children’s participation is very important because only children can tell adults about their suffering. Many children are very vulnerable and they can lose their lives when disasters happen in their community. I, along with other children, want to live in a place where the community and schools are safe from any kind of disasters.
Please involve children in disaster risk reduction activities.