Sokhak, 31, is a young leader working with ADD International, Cambodia. She comes from Kampot province, and has a degree in accountancy. She has worked in the disability rights sector for several years.
Advocating for disability rights.
“I applied to ADD’s young leader’s programme because I wanted to learn, become more creative and innovative, and better advocate on behalf of people with disabilities like myself.
“Since joining, I have learnt about the rights of people with disabilities. I’ve read disability policies and laws – the national framework, protection from violence, vulnerable adults, and the law on the protection and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities.
“Working with ADD I have learnt so much. I have learnt about project management, trainings, networking with organisations of people with disabilities, NGOs and the government. I want to use these skills to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Through the programme, I have gained a lot of experience. I am determined to improve the disability sector of Cambodia.”
I have become more confident and brave. I want to have a voice among people with and without disabilities.Sokhak
To Sokhak it is important to acknowledge the different challenges faced by people with disabilities.
“In my previous role at the Cambodia Disabled People’s Organisation, I got to know about the particular difficulties for people with disabilities living in villages. As a woman with a disability, I have faced double discrimination.
“I found out about the rights of people with disabilities, and I want to advocate to the Government to make accessibility and reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities, so they have a better chance. It’s vital that people know the law and know their rights.
“It’s this discrimination that makes me feel more determined to make change. I want to make my rights known, so we listen to young women with disability, instead of overlooking them. I know there is a legal framework to support my power for change, which encourages me to advocate for others.”
I have experienced discrimination in the past, and this is why I want to stand up for my rights.
Sokhak has a vision for the future of a strengthened disability rights movement in her country.
“I want the legal frameworks around disability rights to be fully implemented, both nationally and internationally, so that people with disability can experience their full rights to access any service they want to. Not only on paper but in reality. I want the public sector, private sector, and NGOs to take action to implement these laws related to disability so that people with disability can realise their rights.
“Additionally, I want to see a growth in awareness of disability rights at grassroots level. We found that almost all of the general population don’t know the legal framework related to disability. Not only ordinary citizens but also the authorities don’t know what disability law is, this is a big issue happening in Cambodia right now.”
I want to use my skills, experience, knowledge and voice to advocate for people with disability, so that everyone can know and realise their rights.
Hear from other disability rights leaders.
Find out more about ADD and what we do.