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Supplementary Teaching Education Project (STEP), Cambodia
Impact Assessment Results
Library brings Cambodia’s hidden history to life
STEP and Lveate Centrestone Public Library’s Digital Archives Project (DAP) has achieved its goal of promoting greater openness about the brutal regime of Pol Pot. Impact assessment found that all 115 villagers interviewed about life in ‘Pol Pot time’, as it is known in Cambodia, were happy to share the filmed interviews with other villagers and with school children.
The DAP was inspired by research published in 2009 which found that although over three million Cambodians died or suffered during Pol Pot’s rule (1975-1979) very few young people knew about the period because older people were reluctant to speak about it.
Villagers who took part in the DAP said they found it comforting to speak about the period. The interviews were conducted by librarians. Most have been filmed, and the films are now available for viewing in a special room in the Lveate Centrestone Public Library. Each week, school children come with their teachers to view the films and to discuss the history.
‘I would like to thank STEP so much for doing the interview. I feel extremely relieved to be able to get some part of those painful memories off my chest. I also feel happy that I can leave this account of my life behind for the next generation,’ one villager told STEP.
‘I want others to know about the suffering that I and my family went through. I want my story to be a part of history for the younger generation to know what actually happened in that horrible regime!’ said another.
The DAP will continue to collect and archive interviews. The project has attracted new funding for the library, and new and valuable partnerships.
Previous project updates:
In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge era remains a topic that is not widely discussed or taught, and very few texts have been written about this time period. This project seeks to educate students about Khmer Rouge history by engaging them to conduct oral history interviews with adults in their region. In addition, the project will create a digital archive that will be integrated into the school curriculum.
The Lveate Centrestone Public Library is located in the remote Meanchey district approximately 40 kilometres from Phnom Penh. It serves a population of 7,488 including approximately 2,500 students.
A report released by the University of California, Berkeley in 2009 revealed that 93 percent of older Cambodians consider themselves victims of the Khmer Rouge. Yet the majority of Cambodians born after the Khmer Rouge period--more than two-thirds of the population-- have little or no knowledge of the horrors the Khmer Rouge inflicted upon their country.
Students will conduct oral history interviews with adults using the ICT skills gained through training workshops. The Lveate Centrestone Public Library will also create a digital archive to record and preserve memories from the Khmer Rouge period.
The project coordinator, Supplementary s Teaching Education Project (STEP), is a non-governmental organization that operates exclusively in the Kingdom of Cambodia. STEP will work with the local Ministry of Education, PEPY Ride (a local education organization), teachers, students and community members.
If you would like to know more about this project, contact:
Digital Archives Project/Supplementary Teaching Education Project
PO Box 1449, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855(0)12 924 357