Lauren Kana Chan, Japanese blogger and storyteller visited Migra Action project in Siem Reap province. She participated in a Self Help Group with a local community and shared interview tips with the young Peer Educators.

MIGRA ACTION Self Help Group. Peer Educator at work, Reap province, February 2018. Photo by Lauren Kana Chan

Lauren was selected as one of the four bloggers to join #Faces2Hearts campaign run by the European Commission, to visit and bring awareness about EU-founded projects around the world. In Cambodia Lauren, among other activities, visited the project run by GVC in Siem Reap. For two days she observed Migra Action and joined GVC staff to meet with the locals.

Lauren travelled to district of Kralanh,one of the areas targeted by the project,which is known for its very high migration rates. She met with the local authorities, and participated in the Self Help Group – a monthly meeting held by GVC and its partners (Legal Support for Children Women and Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center) in remote areas of Cambodia to talk with the villagers about migration.

These meetings serve as a platform to exchange information: GVC staff explain the process of obtaining the passport and visa and the necessity of having legal documents, when travelling abroad for work; whereas villagers share their testimonies and ask the NGO for advice.

‘GVC believes that information and knowledge will reduce the migrant’s vulnerability and ultimately will contribute to combatting human trafficking.Especially sharing personal stories between villagers and encouraging informal circulation of information has proven to be a successful method to prevent exploitation and trafficking’ – says Katarzyna Sumislawska, EU Aid Volunteer involved in the Migra Action communication campaign.

EU Aid Volunteer, Katarzyna Sumislawska speaks with the Peer Educators. Translation Tola Chhay, GVC. Siem Reap province, February 2018. Photo by Lauren Kana Chan

‘That is why we have new addition to the program: Peer Educators, young Cambodians who collect migrants’ stories in their villages using their smartphones. They also spread information about safe migration among their peers. GVC features their stories on a dedicated Facebook site, to reach other Cambodians online’.

Lauren met five of the Peer Educators in Kralanh and shared with them her tips on how to conduct an interview:‘Before you even start the interview, ask yourself why are you doing this. Why did you choose to be a Peer Educator. And remind yourself what is important to you and then start the conversation with that’ – said the blogger.

Peer Educators at work, Siem Reap province, February 2018. Photo by Lauren Kana Chan

According to Lauren there are three important things to consider in storytelling: ‘The first is to be warm, be likeable, be able to relate to the other person, smile and make them feel comfortable. The second is confidence. Maybe it is harder as you are starting this new role,but be confident about what you are saying and bring that confidence to your questions and to your discussions with the person you are interviewing. And the third is to be interested; so really show that you are interested in what they are talking about. And that you are willing to listen and that will help bring trust in the conversation as well’.
Together with the GVC staff Lauren observed the Peer Educators in conducting their first interviews during the Self Help Group and listened to the testimonies of four villagers who just came back from Thailand.The blogger also participated in the meeting with the local authorities of Kralanh to learn about the migration in the area. She discussed with GVC staff about challenges faced by the locals and why they choose to migrate, as well as what assistance is offered by the local authorities, GVC and the Migra Action project to migrants and their families.

Lauren Kana Chan meets with the local authorities of Kralanh district, Siem Reap province, February 2018. Photo by Lauren Kana Chan

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