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#SAITSTORY

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09 Aug
Invitation to the UN

Invitation to the UN

“We’ve been doing this since the second or third Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It began in 2001 and has been going to the UN since I was a little girl. My favourite part was attending youth caucus.

Not only can we have our voices heard as an Indigenous organization, but we can talk about the problems that we, as young people, are facing. The theme this year was suicide.

A lot of what causes suicide in Cambodia, at least for youth, is loss of land and loss of identity. Your land is your livelihood. Also, loss of language is a big factor because language is alive, it’s breathing. It’s not just something you learn, it’s something you feel.

A lot of young people feel like their life is useless because if they think, ‘If I don’t have my culture, I don’t have me.’ They’re reaching out to to provide a voice for them and that’s the only thing we can do. It’s the least we can do. I get emails from people in Cambodia and they thank me for everything I do – I’m just like, ‘I don’t do anything. You tell me your reality and I just put it into words.’

I’ve learned so much about myself, my culture and my religion. I hope KKF can help effectively implement change — when we as an Indigenous group are recognized not only by the Cambodian government but by the Vietnamese government and Khmer people can openly practice our religion and language.”

Darline Ngeth, SAIT student, Legal Assistant diploma program

Editor’s note: Darline Ngeth is a youth member of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), an organization advocating for the rights of Indigenous Khmer-Krom people living in the Mekong Delta and its surrounding regions of current day Vietnam. This spring, Ngeth travelled to New York City to have her speech delivered at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues[/text_block]has been going to the UN since I was a little girl. My favourite part was attending youth caucus.

Not only can we have our voices heard as an Indigenous organization, but we can talk about the problems that we, as young people, are facing. The theme this year was suicide.

A lot of what causes suicide in Cambodia, at least for youth, is loss of land and loss of identity. Your land is your livelihood. Also, loss of language is a big factor because language is alive, it’s breathing. It’s not just something you learn, it’s something you feel.

A lot of young people feel like their life is useless because if they think, ‘If I don’t have my culture, I don’t have me.’ They’re reaching out to

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