More public, socially oriented celebrations showing up in Battambang

Setting the stage... Since the Shine Human Rights Festival was held in Naga Springs park on the riverside of Battambang Town on December 10th, it appears that the location is gaining traction as a public celebration space for International days of recognition…. On February 14th, a collective of young Khmers from all over the province came together to put on a concert to commemorate Valentine’s Day and address social problems among their peers. Now, SALT organisation and Coconut Water Foundation will collaborate to hold a festival commemorating International Women’s Day next Monday, March 8th. They’ll be moving in hot on the heels of another locally organized concert which is being set up right now.

It’s great to see groups getting out there and conducting activities in a location with such great exposure. For a country in which so much work being done to address the problems of communities, it is surprisingly rare to actually hear about social projects here, as they have traditionally existed as weirdly well kept secrets between NGOs, donors and beneficiaries. Bringing these sorts of events into the public sphere breaks the mold of top-down, institutionalized engagement with social projects which I can only think is a step in the right direction.

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