Social Inclusion in Cambodia Society Webinar on 23-24 November, 2021 at Saint Paul Institute (SPI) and Zoom Webinar.
- December 17, 2021
From Tuesday 23rd to Wednesday 24th November, 2021 more than 120 participants from different places such as; student from Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), National Institute for Social Affairs (NISA), Saint Paul Institute (SPI), representative from Government of Cambodia, local and international NGOs, partner university from the Philippine and Germany, and from Catholic Commission were attended the two days webinar workshop on Social Inclusion in Cambodia at Saint Paul Institute and Zoom Webinar. In fact, after attending the workshop and reflecting about social inclusion in Cambodian society for two days, students, staffs, professors, Cambodian and international participants, also people from various institutions in the Catholic community, NGOs gains more knowledge, learn new theories of social inclusion in different context, and additional ideas related to the social inclusion.
In particular, the social inclusion in Cambodia from different perspectives were presented by our guest speakers during these two days such as; from Ministry of Social Affairs (H.E Mao Vanna, Advisor for MoSAVY), Caritas Cambodia (Mr.Kim Rattana, executive director), Civil Society (Mr. Soeurng Sambath, President of Association of Professional Social Worker of Cambodia (APSWC), and President of AusCam Freedom Project (AusCam) in Cambodia), Higher Education Institution (Mr.Sann Ratana, Director of National Elderly Care Center (NECC), from Buddhism (Venerable Hak Sienghai, Buddhism for Education CAMBODIA-BEC, Executive Director), from Islam (Mr.Ham Karim, President of Cambodian Muslim Students Association (CAMSA) Phnom Penh, Cambodia), from Catholic (H.E Bishop Olivier SCHMITTHAEUSLER, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, Founder and Chancellor of SPI).
However, when we look at the definition of the Social inclusion: " The process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society" and "The process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society " based on this definition, a nation is striving to formulate a national policy that allows institutions at all levels to act, and to improve the social inclusion in their respect places in Cambodia. In addition, all religions have been actively practicing to improve the social inclusion in Cambodian society (H.E Mao Vanna).
Truly, the time we have given these two days is clearly highlighted by the sharing and input from our guest speakers, making it clear that the social inclusion is not just focused on people with disabilities. Furthermore, we have to includes all people in different contexts, such as the elderly, immigrants or refugees, orphans or homeless children, youth and women who have no opportunity to participate in society, helpless widows, all vulnerable people who are facing challenges of their lives. At the same time, the main goal of the inputs is to show that each person must be equal at all areas in order to participate in a society both in terms of participation and education opportunity, and also in social work force, labor market and access to education, and health care. In addition, if a person is excluded from society due to health or physical status is not from his/her own factors, instead it is a barrier from the society where they are living (Phon Sophal, closing remark).
Furthermore, the time we get from these two days should be appropriate to ask ourselves, what should I or my organization promote social inclusion in the family, in the community, and in the society? Of course, the answers are many, but starting from the smallest point to improve the social inclusion in Cambodia is very important such as; do not look down on others, stop discrimination to poor or disabilities people, respect to the dignity of people, be responsible and participate in your institutions or communities, be united in all levels of your work, and listen to each other, reflect about common good in our live, act or create activities for the benefit to the poor, the disabilities, and the vulnerable people
(H.E Bishop Olivier, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh).
From the result of discussion among 10 groups in the workshop, we affirm that collaborations are very important to promote social inclusion in Cambodia. Most of group representative had agreed and shared that we should encourage to have collaboration among institutional, among local and international organization, among educational institutions, and among religions in purpose to find activities to promote a social inclusion in Cambodia. Especially to find some action can work together to answer a questions; how to provide opportunities for the poor and vulnerable people to participate in all sectors of society? In term of giving them opportunities, all participant believe that full access of their rights are very significant to make them inclusively such as; rights for children, rights for disabilities and vulnerable people that help them to participate in a society fully. In addition, religion is a key important role to contribute to be a social inclusion. We believe that the establishment a culture of dialogue in the context of religion, especially the three main religions are presenting in Cambodia (Buddhism, Islam, and Catholic) is the best example to improve the social inclusion. At the same time, dialogue at all levels in the context of religion or inter-religious prayers, we do not think that is enough to promote social inclusion in Cambodia, we should think together to find any specific actions to implement together in a purpose to improve the social inclusion in Cambodia society (result from group discussion).