In 2011, I did an independent project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at the request of a former teacher of mine. I taught two comics courses for young women (18-35), as a way to address the nation's lack of womens' access to media production, free speech, and education. In 2007, Cambodia's prime minster Hun Sen announced that freedom of speech is the freedom to say nice things about your government. A comics class for young women was a seemingly innocuous way for a group of young, ambitious ladies to begin to question their country's policies and to explore themselves outside of strict traditional gender roles and their own country's tragic and recent history. I also began a small comics library in a local university as a way to foster a women's history within the capital. Since then, I have been working in collaboration with a non-profit in Chicago providing young Cambodian American women with a space to explore themselves and gain access to public voice.
As a continuation of my past projects and to further the sustainability of women's media in Cambodia, Uoeung Bonsovathary intend to teach an independent media class for young women in Phnom Penh. This time our curriculum will include: comics, screen-printing, creative writing, and blogging.