The Next Chapter of a Lifelong Journey
With every new day, I discover and learn about an issue, an initiative, a thought and/or a unique human experience. Through PRODZEKT, the next chapter of my personal fieldwork, I aim to share some of the voices and stories that I encounter along my ongoing journey as an independent and relentlessly curious video journalist.
* Given the current global COVID-19 scenario and the limitations on international travel - my fieldwork will, for the time being, be primarily focused on documenting the voices of the local community in my basecamp in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
THE HARSH REALITY
As we all know, the world has changed drastically in recent months, including here - in Cambodia, where most people are now struggling profoundly as a result of this global COVID-19 scenario.
While cases of the illness have remained relatively low and under control according to local reports, travel restrictions and the drastic drop in tourism have been especially harsh on the people of Siem Reap. Once flooded with international tourists seeking a glimpse of the world-famous Angkor Wat Archeological Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this host city has turned into a ghost town. Relying heavily on the income generated through the tourism industry, much of the local community and economy has been devastated by the impacts of this global pandemic.
The following is a series of short interviews documenting the voices and experiences of a once thriving community that has largely been left to fend for itself.
Part 3: COVID UPDATES
17.01.21 UPDATE: PHARE CIRCUS
Artists are struggling around the globe as a result of this COVID scenario - including here in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I received a warm invitation yesterday to visit Phare, the Cambodian Circus, and caught up with friend and Phare’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Craig Dodge. I’m sharing this shaky-cam/rough cut tour to introduce you to some of the creative concepts that the social enterprise has developed as part of its efforts to attract more people, to lift spirits during this difficult period, and most importantly - to keep artists performing and employed! Here’s a glimpse of the circus, an update on the current situation, and a bit warmth and positive energy as Craig brings us up to date from Phare…
19.01.21 UPDATE: HAPPY RANCH
Trail riding along the edge of rice fields in rural communities and villages provided tourists with a unique experience and glimpse of local life here in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sary Pann opened The Happy Ranch Horse Farm more than two decades ago - today its future is in jeopardy. Relying heavily on international tourism to sustain his ranch, his horses and his business…it’s an all too familiar and sad story. I caught up with him in passing - here’s another COVID-related update.
Part 4 (*Mondulkiri Province): Endangered
Part 4: FROM THE FIELD...
(More to come...)
"The Women of Rokhak"
By Maggie Padlewska
Hor Sounsrors embarked on a mission to help fight the global pollution problem by creating luxury handwoven products like bags, purses, baskets and carpets from an invasive plant species that is suffocating waterways, lakes and rivers in Cambodia.
The young entrepreneur is also working to help empower others by creating education and job opportunities for women from underprivileged “floating village” communities living on the Tonle Sap.
She founded Rokhak, a business-based development project where she and her team of women create zero-waste products from the water hyacinth. Here’s is brief preview of her story:
- Maggie Padlewska