A DIGITAL LANDSCAPE OF VISUAL STORYTELLING
S CA PEC M IA BO L DI EDI A TI / L ON AO S
ISSUE 1, 2014
HEALTH FOR ALL
Food, medicine and a brighter future for Cambodian families
Providing educational opportunities through skateboarding
Breaking the cycle of disadvantage in Cambodia
ISSUE 1, 2014
The ARGUS is a student-run, non-profit, visual journalism magazine dedicated to showcasing studentsâ€™ investigations and unique perspectives of local and international issues.
All opinions and views expressed within are those of the authors and do not represet those of the editorial board or QCA, Griffith University.
We will always welcome anyone who feels they can contribute to the exciting future of our magazine be it through material or expertise. Please pitch your ideas only [no pictures please] to email@example.com.
All content is copyright of the contributors and must not be copied or reproduced without permission of the creators.
FIND US: www.theargus.net.au www.facebook.com/THEARGUSQCA twitter:@theargus_qca Subscribe to our RSS feed for new issues and content.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Reader, Welcome to Beyond the Gate, the first issue of the ARGUS for 2014. This year our editorial staff sought to deliver a fresh and sleek publication that focuses on showcasing the finest works from emerging visual journalists around the globe. Our editorial team has collaborated with our art director in order to improve the layout and delivery of our publication, providing an engaging and cohesive reading experience.
James Darlington Managing Editor
We believe that the stories published in the ARGUS need to be told. Our team aims to unearth and support emerging visual storytellers, as we believe their stories effectively raise awareness of local and global concerns and provide a compelling vehicle for social and cultural change. This semester we are honoured to share stories captured by student visual journalists in two of South-East Asia’s resilient countries, Cambodia and Laos, in a special issue entitled Beyond The Gate.
Beyond the Gate is an expression of the changing face of Cambodia. The country is still recovering from the catastrophic demolition of government, culture and society under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. The remnants of old conflicts still linger in the hearts, minds and land of its people. Beyond the Gate opens doors to understanding Cambodia’s future, moving beyond the turbulent times of François Bizot’s famous work and inescapably into a time illuminated by long legacy of compassion and the quiet resilience of Cambodia’s population. I would like to thank the editorial team for their motivation, creativity and enthusiasm regarding the publication of the ARGUS this semester. On behalf of the editorial staff, I would also like to thank executive editor, Heather Faulkner, and assistant excutive editor, Kelly McIlvenny, for their support, guidance and expertise. Your ongoing contributions and persistence encourages us to succeed and produce important stories that serve to inform and enhance our understanding of the world around us and the world we live in. We hope that the stories presented throughout the pages of this publication inspire you and encourage you to interpret the world around you with a fresh perspective. We deliver these stories so that you, the reader, may make informed decisions regarding the way in which you are governed and affected by change in contemporary society.
Kind Regards, James Darlington Managing Editor, the ARGUS
Heather Faulkner Executive Editor
Kelly McIlvenny Assistant Executive Editor
Monique Montfroy Director of photography
Lauren Kessler Picture Editor
Jessica Helou Picture Editor
Joshua White Multimedia Editor/Web Editor
Rachel Vercoe Multimedia Editor
Alexandria Gibb Multimedia Editor
Brittany Peters Assignment Editor
Rhiannon Becker-Jones Sub Editor
Laura Edwards Sub Editor
Ebonie Chan Director of Marketing
Adam Rankine Director of Marketing
Jessica Longworth Listings Editor
Chenxing Wang Listings Editor
Louise Rosenberg Art Director
Aurora Braid PR Manager
CONTENTS FEATURES ANGLONG PI KALIYAN MITH 8 - 17 HEALTH FOR ALL 18 - 21 BOREI KEILA 22 - 35 PHARE PONLEU SELPAK 36 - 41 NEW HOPE 42 - 51 ONION SKINS, JACKFRUIT AND MARIGOLD FLOWERS
52 - 57
THE WAR THAT NEVER WAS 58 - 71
MULTIMEDIA SKATEISTAN 72 - 73
A SELECTION OF THE BEST SINGLE IMAGE SUBMISSIONS
Women and children picking through the rubbish at a dumpsite outside the Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap. Photo By Kimberly McCosker/ARGUS 2014
ANGLONG PI KALIYAN MITH SURVIVING IN A WORLD OF WASTE
The dump is a completely different world from the tourist mecca of Siem Reap, just 40 minutes away by car. The dumpsite is tucked away down a windy dirt track, far from the eyes of the 1.2 million people who visit the temples and bars of Siem Reap each year. But despite the seemingly inhospitable nature of the rubbish dump, it is a buzzing hive of activity. Article by Kimberley McCosker Photos by Kimberley McCosker, Jameson Clifton and Peter Farmer (individually credited)
he smell is the easiest to remember. It sits in the back of your throat, lingering. So it is still possible to taste the burning plastic hours after leaving. A greasy film sits on your skin, in your hair, under your tongue. A 20-meter deep pile of rotting food, medical waste and household garbage sinks beneath your boots. You climb over pile after pile after pile of the broken, the used and the unwanted. Smoke and dust clog the air in a thick haze, creating a murky silhouette of the endless piles of waste that stretch towards the horizon.
more if there is a fresh arrival of waste from town. Dump sites like this one are a sad reflection of the severe poverty in Cambodia, a country where more than one third of the population live on less than $1 per day. However, just a few hundred metres away sits the beautiful Anglong Pi Kaliyan Mith centre, a Friends International initiative supported by UNICEF. The centre exists solely to support the families who work on the dumpsite.
A little girl, barely 8 years old, carries a baby on her hip as she wanders through the waste. Nearby, an elderly woman digs through rotting food scraps, shooing away a stray dog that has come in search of food. Just behind her, a young boy, barefoot, clambers over broken glass. He has open sores on his legs. Men hide from the blasting midday sun in the shanty shelters around the edge of the site. Children in scruffy school uniforms ride their bikes down the dirty path. Women lean on their hoes, chatting and laughing as they work. Hidden away down that windy dirt track is a thriving community of some 500 people who live, work and survive on the dump.
One of the focus areas of Anglong Pi is to improve the working conditions for people who scavenge on the dumpsite. While a seemingly impossible task, the team has developed basic ways to improve the health and safety of the individuals who work there. Providing sturdy rubber gumboots is key to protecting the many people who work barefoot or in open shoes. Face masks and gloves help keep out harmful bacteria and deadly fumes from burning plastics. They also provide clean drinking water, shower facilities and access to a trained nurse. All of this is provided free of charge to anyone working on the site, an initiative Anglong Pi is proud to deliver.
It is a grim survival. The men, women and children who work here spend over twelve hours a day digging through the endless pile of waste, scavenging for plastics and other recyclable items that can be sold cheaply to recycling plants. Their health and safety is put at incredible risk for a meager 50 cents per day, sometimes
The team at Anglong Pi also works tirelessly towards breaking the poverty cycle that keeps bringing people back to the dump in search of income. To them, this means ensuring all children receive an education. Anglong Pi provides a day care and education centre for children whose parents work on the dump site.
Children under 6 can spend all day with the staff at the centre learning the basics, while those old enough to be in school have access to informal education. So far, 100 children who have passed through the centre have been integrated into formal education in a public school. Friends International also give workers on the dump site direct access to a Vocational Training Centre, where they can learn practical skills to integrate into the work force, a direct combatant to the cycle of rubbish collection that keeps so many trapped in poverty. More than 1.5 million children under the age of 18 are working in Cambodia, while over half of all 7 - 14 year olds are economically active. 750,000 of these are under the age of 12. It is hard to imagine this number of children working, however a visit to the dumpsite reveals the accuracy of these statistics: an astonishing number of children pick through the rubbish to find saleable goods. With initiatives like Anglong Pi Kaliyan Mith, it is possible to see a brighter future than that which lies in the acrid smoke of the Siem Reap dump.
A worker collects aluminium and other recyclables at a dumpsite outside the Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap. Photo By Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
Children arrive for work early in the morning at a dumpsite outside the Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap. Photo Peter Farmer/ARGUS 2014
Workers use scarfs to help protect themselves from the smoke, fumes and smell of the dumpsite outside the Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap. Photo Kimberly McCosker/ARGUS 2014
A worker carries her collection of recyclables through the small villages that borders a dumpsite outside the Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap. Photo Kimberly McCosker/ARGUS 2014
Villagers living near the dumpsite often develop lesions on their legs due to the unsanitary conditions, despite gumboots and gloves being supplied by the nearby Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap. Photo Kimberly McCosker/ARGUS 2014
Instead of attending school, a fourteen-year-old girl collects plastic and other recyclables at a dumpsite outside the Kaliyan Mith Day Centre, Siem Reap Photo Kimberly McCosker/ARGUS 2014
Bong Keam, 11, is in Grade 3 at Trapaing Por Primary School. His hands have been deformed since birth, making it hard to learn to write. He receives special learning materials from UNICEF and Operations Enfants du Cambodge. Siem Reap. Photo Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
HEALTH FOR ALL “CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO GOOD QUALITY HEALTH CARE, CLEAN WATER, NUTRITIOUS FOOD AND A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT SO THAT THEY WILL STAY HEALTHY.” - CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, ARTICLE 24 Article by Kimberley McCosker Photos by Kimberley McCosker, Jameson Clifton and Peter Farmer (individually credited)
WASH: WATER, HYGIENE AND SANITATION
Lack of water and proper sanitation is one of the biggest issues affecting the health of children across Cambodia. The simple practice of washing hands with soap is unavailable to many children in the country. This leads to a high occurrence of diarrhea, skin disease, respiratory illnesses and intestinal and other waterborne diseases. These conditions often result in long-term illnesses or death, despite being largely preventable. One of the core programs of UNICEF in Cambodia is the implementation of their water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in schools around the country. Cambodia is a country with over 15,000 schools and over 3 million enrolled students. However, 31% of these schools do not have a toilet, and those schools that do have one often find them not functioning or in poor condition. UNICEF in conjunction with the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) work to fund and build functioning toilet buildings in primary schools, so students have access to proper sanitation facilities. These brand new toilet blocks are accompanied by an education program for staff and students to encourage basic sanitation programs like hand washing and using clean water for drinking and cooking.
One key area of UNICEF’s work is supporting children with disabilities in the school system. Children with disabilities are more likely to drop out of school than any other demographic. UNICEF focuses on removing roadblocks that stop children with disabilities participating fully in the classroom. To do this, they partner with local not-for-profit organizations to extend the network of aid giving within the country. One such organization that UNICEF partners with is Operations Engants du Cambodge (OEC), a
Battambang-based NGO that supports children with disabilities by improving their capacity and quality of life. Bong Keaim, pictured, is in Grade 3 at Tapaing Por Primary School. His hands have been malformed since birth, making it hard to learn to write. He receives special learning materials from UNICEF and OEC, and is now able to attend and participate successfully in classes like any other child. Bong is one of 13 students at Tapaing Por Primary School who receive disability support from OEC, making it a leading school in breaking the cycle of discrimination that children with disabilities often face within the education system.
UNICEF believe the health and wellbeing of the mother is directly linked to the health and wellbeing of the child, particularly newborns. Good maternal health is linked to poverty reduction, progress in this area has been linked to successful immunisation programs and breastfeeding promotion.
poorest of Cambodia’s poor. Kouk Roka is also home to a UNICEFfunded health clinic, an incredible initiative that delivers basic health care to the Andong community. This includes vaccinations for the neighbourhood’s many children. They also receive the necessary vitamins, deworming medicine and healthcare education. The clinic is linked to a Village Health Support Group that conducts home visits to pregnant women and new mothers, to provide support for mothers before and after pregnancy. The Village Health Support Group also focuses on reducing the rates of domestic violence, an immense problem within this poor and impoverished community. * All statistics and quotes are derived from UNICEF publications.
One of the key factors leading to poor health and nutrition of Cambodian mothers and children is the inadequate access to quality health services. UNICEF focuses on building health care services within communities across the country, bringing basic health services like immunizations and vitamins to the community. They also employ trained health professionals to educate communities about basic health care needs. One such project is Kouk Roka Health Centre in Andong village, an urban poor settlement on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The settlement itself is a sprawling maze of shanty houses built in the dusty outskirts of the city. Some shelters are propped up over drains and open pipes, while others lean beside rubbish filled paddocks. It is home to the
A young child looks into a WASH facility at Prey Speu Primary School. The school has had a new WASH facility for just three weeks, and expect to see a big change in the health of their students. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
BOREI KEILA PROFIT AND LOSS
Borei Keila was once a thriving community positioned in the heart of Phnom Penh. However, when the Phanimex Company acquired developing rights to the land, residents of Borei Keila faced an impending eviction. By Simon Hardy
n January 2012 military police forcibly remove residents from their homes. Backed by the government, an estimated 200 houses were levelled. Claims to legal ownership of the land were overlooked and residents were left with very few options. Phanimex has since declared bankruptcy and have failed to uphold their agreement of adequate housing on the land. Development has ceased, leaving Borei Keila in a limbo state of undeveloped land and ongoing temporary housing. There are clear illustrations of the immediate and long-term affects of forced evictions in Cambodia. Chenda, a resident and well-respected figure of Borei Keila, tells me that his people are desperate, and their futures are uncertain. Refusing to accept offers of relocation, they reside in makeshift housing in hope of legal justice and reestablishment of their homes. There is little business or trading opportunity for the remaining residents Fresh produce markets are still in operation, but the income it generates is not sufficient to break the cycle of poverty. A local shop owner tells me that it is not uncommon for her store to generate less than 8000 Riel ($2.25AUS) a day. Unfortunately the recent history of Borei Keila is not unique. Privatisation of land alone has seen an estimated 10% of the Phnom Penhâ€™s residents evicted over the past 20 years. As corporations thrive on the nations cheap and easy access to land and development, the people of Borei Keila remain below the poverty line.
Previous page: Chenda, 34, walks the interior stairs of an abandoned apartment building. Once the residents were evicted, construction workers removed the handrails from all staircases in attempts to render the buildings unlivable. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
A young boy sits amongst the waste in Borei Keila. With no local sanitation programs, residents in neighbouring apartments discard their garbage from the balconies of the high-risk buildings. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
View from the window of an incomplete apartment building. Undeveloped land below is used as a volleyball court by local youths. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
A young boy plays amongst discarded construction materials. When the Phanimex company declared bankruptcy construction seized, and the incomplete accommodation was abandoned. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Touch Khorn, 49, suffers from HIV. He was moved to the Phnom Bat relocation site, distant from all medical attention or facilities. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Srey Mey, 13, currently suffers mental illness. Her mother Ban Thol, 52 is unable to afford the necessary medical expenses. The living conditions in Borei Keila take both a physical and mental toll on its residents. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Sav Sophy, 45, had to have part of her left foot, along with large portions of skin on her stomach removed due to skin disease. The sanitary conditions of Borei Keila promote poor health and an easy spread of disease and infection. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Sav Sophy, 45, had to have part of her left foot, along with large portions of skin on her stomach removed due to skin deasease. The sanitary conditions of Borei Keila promote poor health and an easy spread of disease and infection. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Orphans Pauna Nith, 16, and Srey Nait, 10, sit inside their home at Borei Keila. Both children were born with HIV and rely on local NGOâ€™s to supply the necessary treatments for survival. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Earn Lim, 39, lives with 7-year-old daughter Panna Dika in their old apartment in Borei Keila. Recent clashes with authorities have seen physical and violent removal of residents within these apartments. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
View from the window of an abandoned Borei Keila apartment. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
PHARE PONLEU SELPAK A NEW MEANING TO RUNNING AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS
Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit association working with vulnerable children, young adults and their families. Based in Battambang, it offers young people a way out of the poverty cycle by training them to become professional artists and performers. Phare Ponleu Selpak, meaning “the brightness of art” in Khmer, was established in 1994 by young Cambodian refugees, who upon returning to Cambodia, began using the arts as a means of coping with the trauma left by Cambodia’s violent past. By Kimberley McCosker and Jameson Clifton
Performer at Phare Circus. Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo Kimberly McCosker/ARGUS 2014
hare is set in an idyllic space in a tiny street in Battambang. The school has open spaces of lush green grass, flowering trees and open classrooms that are filled to the brim with healthy smiling children. It is primarily an arts school, providing training in circus skills, theatre performance, music and a whole range of visual arts. However, it also offers formal education and remedial teaching to over 1400 children from primary to high school. A key part of the school’s offerings is its social work program. Staff work to prevent children and youth from engaging in risky behavior by offering psychological and social support. The school seeks to reintegrate vulnerable children and youth into their families, the public school system, the workplace and their culture. Phare is part of UNICEF’s partnership program for protecting children. UNICEF provides the school with technical assistance, and assist with advocacy, knowledge generation, research and data management. Once children have received training from Phare, they are equipped with the professional, social and emotional skills to allow them to enter the workforce as professional performers and visual artists. Phare Circus in Siem Reap is a showcase piece for the program’s successes. Right off the bustling streets of Cambodia’s tourist capital Siem Reap, sits a low-key circus tent, tucked in behind the Angkor National Museum. Hand painted lanterns suspended from bamboo poles guide visitors into an intimate tent bringing guests within arms length of the action of Phare Circus. Performers push the human form to its physical peak with an incredible acrobatic performance mixed with a theatrical drama and contemporary Khmer music. Since the first professional performance in 2002, Phare Ponleu Selpak’s circus troupes tour every year in Cambodia and abroad in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa, showcasing vibrancy and raw talent of emerging Khmer artists.
A circus performer at the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia is thrown into the air during a pre-show warm up session. The performers are all graduates of the Phare Ponleu Selpak school in Battambang, Cambodia; a UNICEF supported organisation. Photo Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
Circus performers during their nightly show in Siem Reap. Cambodia. Photo Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
Two performances at the Phare Circus in Siem Reap, Cambodia perform the show Eclipse for an international audience every night. The performers are all graduates of the Phare Ponleu Selpak school in Battambang, Cambodia; a UNICEF supported organisation. Photo Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
A NEW HOPE FOR FAMILIES IN MONDUL 3 Kien Som Bun, Em Guim and Som Norm, and Mein Laung are just some of the many people supported by New Hope Cambodia, a Non-Government Organisation founded by local Khmer man, Soth Kemsour. By providing sponsorship families with food, medical facilities and the means to establish a future for their families, New Hope works to counter the cycle of poverty in Mondul 3. By Simon Hardy, Zoe Mathers and Heather Lee Grant
Em Gium, 72, and Som Norm, 65, reside in one the many Mondul 3 villages. Gium and Norm were left to raise their 5 grandchildren when their mother moved to Vietnam. With the children at a young age, and their grandparents unfit to work, there is very little income for the family. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
his lady has a very sad story,” our translator tells us as we ride down the surprisingly silent dirt road in Mondul 3, one of Siem Reap’s poorest slum areas, towards Kien Som Bun’s house. I have not heard silence like this since arriving in Cambodia. The centre of Siem Reap, which is only 15 minutes away, is a hive of activity 24/7. The contrast hits me hard as we pass the broken down huts and tarpaulins that serve as homes for the residents of Mondul 3. When we pull up to a small house, Kien Som Bun appears at the top of the stairs. Although it clearly pains her to do so, she hobbles down the steep flight to greet us. After we have all been introduced we follow her, slowly, back up the stairs that lead to her living space. Her house measures about 4x4m at most, containing only a bed, and a small shelf holding some pots, pans, and jars. This house is in fact only the balcony of a kind neighbour who allows her to live here. Kien Som Bun sits down on the edge of her bed, clearly exhausted from climbing the stairs. Her mosquito net drapes over her shoulders. We asked Kien Som Bun if she was ever married and how young she was. She married first when she was only 18 years old, having 12 children to this man. Her husband then divorced her for a younger woman, with whom he had been having an affair, leaving her to care for their 12 children alone. Some years later, at the age of 35, Kien Som Bun remarried to a man she described as, “kind” and “faithful”. With this man she had another 3 children, which meant she was now the
mother to 15 children in total.
or husband to remember them by.
In 1975, when her youngest child was only 1 year old, the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. Kien Som Bun and her 15 children were sent to be “kept” in the countryside. One by one her children were taken from her, supposedly to work in rice fields. She has never seen them again. Her youngest, aged 1 and 3, died due to illness in the camp. Kien Som Bun also lost her husband to the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge.
Many families living in Mondul 3 are much like Kien Som Bun, suffering many hardships while living in broken down, unfit homes. Em Guim, 72, and Som Norm, 65, have been left to raise their 5 grandchildren after their mother left for Vietnam. As they are both elderly, they struggle to provide for the children, requiring a great deal of help to survive.
As Kien Som Bun told us this, tears began to well up in her eyes. She stared at the ground with a sadness that we could not even begin to imagine. She has endured such cruelty. She had lost the man she loved and forced to stand by helpless as every single one of her 15 children were taken, or killed. We asked Kien Som Bun if she had any photos of her family that she would not mind showing us. Upon this request tears began streaming down her face, heavy and quick. Between drawnout breaths Kien Som Bun explained to us that she had to burn every single one of her family photos in an attempt to save her children from the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge was known to kill entire extended families if one member had already died at their hands. They did this to prevent vengeance, and the amount of deaths reported. For if there was nobody left to report a death, how could it ever be known? So now, a woman who tried her best to protect her family from the terror that they endured, does not even have a simple photograph of her children
Mein Laung , his wife and grandchild, are another impoverished family living in Mondul 3. Mein Laung is suffering from a debilitating illness; his family believe was brought about by black magic. He cannot move properly, cannot feed himself, and certainly cannot work to support his family. Kien Som Bun, Em Guim and Som Norm, and Mein Laung are just some of the many people supported by New Hope Cambodia, a Non-Government Organisation founded by local Khmer man, Soth Kemsour. By providing sponsorship families with food, medical facilities and the means to establish a future for their families, New Hope works to counter the cycle of poverty in Mondul 3. http://www.newhopecambodia.com
Mein Laung, 57 and Srey Sart, 58, inside their Mondul 3 home. The family believes that Mein, once a successful farmer, fell victim to a black magic curse incited by another vegetable worker. His unknown illness has left him incapacitated and unable to return to work. With little income the family had no choice but to move to Mondul 3. Photo Heather Grant/ARGUS 2014
New Hope staff perform routine medical checks on Mein Laung, inside his Mondul 3 home. Photo Zoe Mathers/ARGUS 2014
Kien Som Bun, 90, holds a photo of her younger self when she was last physically able to attend Pagoda. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
At the age of 31, Kien Som Bunâ€™s knee was shattered when she was hit by a car. She required surgery to have metal plates positioned where her knee cap once was. The surgery has left Som Bun unable to bend her left leg. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
The Mondul 3 villages of Cambodia contain over 300 displaced families and is the poorest slum area of the Siam Reap province. Limited work opportunities force these families to recycle rubbish to make ends meet. Photo Heather GrantARGUS 2014
ONION SKINS, JACKFRUIT AND MARIGOLD FLOWERS THE HOUEY HONG VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTRE FOR WOMEN
The intricately embroidered Lao Skirts can take up to three weeks to complete for complex designs, holding great cultural significance for the Lao people. Raw silk is processed and dyed at the Centre, then spun into thread and woven by the Centreâ€™s trained weavers. Article by Katie Anderson-Kelly Photos by Katie Anderson-Kelly, Shahna Hudson, and Liana Turner (individually credited)
ehind the gates of the Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women in Phouthakan, May and Ooun are processing raw silk using natural dyes to produce a wide range of vibrant hues. Working exclusively with silk purchased from silk farms in Laos and Vietnam, those training at the centre use traditional Lao craft techniques to create a wide range of handicrafts. The Houey Hong Centre has amassed a large collection of traditional designs as part of its commitment to the preservation of Lao cultural heritage. Manager of the centre, Sengmany, explains the difference between Lao and Vietnamese silk and while the Vietnamese silk has a lovely sheen, the Lao silk is preferred for weaving cloth for traditional Lao garments. Many of the plants used to create the dyes, such as Jackfruit and Marigold flowers, are grown and harvested on site to reduce costs. Sengmany laughs as she tells us that when the centre first opened in 1998, they were able to collect onion skins for free from local restaurants. Now that the value of the refuse is known, the Centre must pay top dollar. The Centre employs thirty seven staff, many of them ex-students, others have returned to their home districts and found employment or opened their own business. For those that have opened their own business, the Houey Hong Centre assists with the purchase of their own equipment, as the cost of a loom can be expensive. In recent years, the Houey Hong Centre has introduced training courses for teachers in order to raise funds. Their half day dyeing and weaving workshops are popular amongst tourists visiting Vientiane. Along with selling products, such as bags, scarves and garments online, the centre exports material internationally. Today, Sod, an experienced weaver, deftly works on a bolt of indigo cloth that is destined for a future as a kimono in Japan. “I don’t know how to weave”, Sengmany, the Centre’s manager confides in us, laughing as she shares the open secret. Her aunt Tongchan, one of the founders of the Houey Hong Centre and her sister, an employee, convinced her to leave her career as a dentist to bring her business skills to the Non-Profit Organization. “Now I know that I have come to the right place,” she says smiling, “I am working with a beautiful thing.” For more information about the Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women, please visit their website: http://www.houeyhongcentre.com/
Previous page: Sod received her training at the Houey Hong Centre, and has been employed as a weaver at the Centre for eleven years. Photo Katie Anderson-Kelly/ARGUS 2014
Sa spins purple silk, dyed with sic lac resin, into silken thread. Photo Shahna Hudson/ARGUS 2014
Sa pauses her spinning to check the silk for snarls. The Houey Hong centre requires weavers to spin their own thread to ensure they are satisfied with the quality. Photo Katie Anderson-Kelly/ARGUS 2014
THE WAR THAT NEVER WAS THE LEGACY OF UNEXPLODED ORDINANCES IN LAOS
UXOs are the remnants of over 2 million tones of ordinance that were dropped on Laos by the United States of America during the Vietnam War in an attempt to block the Ho Chi Minh trail. For nine years between 1964 and 1973, effectively one bombing mission took place every eight minutes, 24 hours a day. Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world, per capita, in history, yet Laos was never a party to the war. Article by Emma Wright Photos by Jameson Clifton, Simon Hardy, Jenelle Stafford and Emma Wright (Individually credited)
pproximately 25% of villages in Laos are still affected by UXOs. 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, yet there are approximately 100 new UXO related casualties in Laos each year. These stories are a reminder of the tragic legacy of war on the innocent.
Like Ka, many villagers throughout the region either do not believe that UXOs are present where they live and work, or ignore it out of necessity. In many cases, their choice is simple: risk their lives in the field and provide food for their family, or stay at home and starve.
MUN AND SIPHONE’S STORY
“Some families just have bad luck”, says Mun, 42 years old, as she sits with her husband, Siphone, 46 years old, waiting for passing vehicles to purchase gasoline from their shop front. The gasoline business supports the family after a tragic accident two years ago. Working in their family plot, Mun’s brother, Bounmy, aged 28, stood on an unexploded ordinance (UXO). He died on impact. Along with her brother, the abandoned bomb killed Siphone and Mun’s daughter Kingkeo, aged 14. Mun and her sister-in-law were also injured and have shrapnel embedded in their bodies. They cannot afford to have it surgically removed and must live with the pain it causes. Siphone shows us where the accident occurred. Their farming plot sits at the top of a mountain approximately 400m from their house in Nonghet district, among the peaks of Xieng Khouang province. The family had grown crops there in the past without incident, but the accident has left them scared for their safety. Even though they are poor, Mun refuses to work in the field since the accident. Two out of the couple’s three surviving children have moved to Vientiane to work as cleaners and servers in restaurants out of fear that they will end up being killed like their sister. Phimpha is 12 years old and too young to move away. Without their crop, the family will not have enough food to eat. Mun and Siphone have borrowed money to hire people to work in their field. Through these efforts the family has just enough to survive, but it would not suffice if all their children were still living at home.
KA AND OAUN’S STORY
Ka is 72 years old. His village is deep in the mountains in Nonghet district. Oaun, his wife, has never left the village. Ka recalls how village residents would hide in a cave when they heard the planes during the war, as the Americans would only drop bombs when they saw people. At night, the villagers would work in their fields under the cover of darkness, wearing only green, so they could tend to their crops. Ka does not believe UXOs are in the mountains surrounding his village, but he and a number of villagers have found UXO casings in the nearby countryside. Ka uses a casing he found to support his rice storage hut. Other villagers have used bomb parts to construct stoves, or melted the metal to create domestic items, such as plates.
Prevoius Page: Vande, 52, sits in front of her home with her children in Nonghet district, 27 January 2014. Her son, Ped, suffers from depression after being injured in a childhood UXO accident that also killed his two brothers and sister. Since Vande’s husband died, she and Ped have to face their fear of UXOs on a daily basis as they farm their field, where the accident took place, to provide food for the family. Photo Jameson Clifton/ARGUS 2014
The impact of a UXO lasts long after the accident itself. Ped lives in a village close to the Vietnamese border, also in Nonghet district. He was 11 years old when he was working in his family’s field with Vande, his mother, his brothers, Oat,13 and Pui, 8, and his sister, Mai, who was 15 years old. Oat, was digging with a shovel when he struck a UXO, killing him, Pui and Mai on impact. Ped was knocked unconscious. While Ped survived, he lost his right eye and still has shrapnel lodged in his head, which causes him to have fevers and ongoing pain. The family can only afford to buy paracetamol to help ease Ped’s pain. Now 23 years old, the gravity of Ped’s injuries has set in. As a result of the accident, he is physically unable to have children. Even though Ped is a strong and capable young man, he explains that he finds it “emotionally difficult” to live his life. Ped recognizes that he is not like his other friends and that he would be married by now had the accident not occurred. For Ped, “joy does not seem to exist”. He is suffering from depression. Ped’s father died last year. As the only male left in the family, Ped has no choice but to overcome his fear of UXOs on a daily basis and support his mother and sisters by returning to the field that not only took the life of his two brothers and sister, but stole his life as well.
HOW TO HELP
The UXO clearance effort in Laos is important. Not only does it save lives, but it enables the development of communities through the provision of schools, clean water and safe farming land. ChildFund is a non-government organization working in partnership with several UXO affected communities, including the villages visited, in the Nonghet district of Xieng Khouang. Their aim is to create lasting and meaningful change in their partner communities. ChildFund recently launched a campaign to raise much needed funding to clear UXO affected land before development activities can begin in communities they support. Further information about ChildFund and the appeal can be found at www.childfund.org.au All statistical information has been sourced from the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR.
Ped, 23, holds a UXO casing in his family home in Nonghet district, 27 January 2014. Ped still has shrapnel embedded in his head and body, following a childhood UXO accident when he was 11. This causes him pain and fever. His family can only afford paracetamol to relieve his discomfort. Photo Emma Wright/ARGUS 2014
Vande, 52, sits in her home in Nonghet district, 27 January 2014. â€œI wish I could kill themâ€?, she says of those responsible for carpet-bombing Laos during the Vietnam War. UXOs have killed three of her children and left a third, Ped, with long term physical and mental health effects. Photo Emma Wright/ARGUS 2014
Ped, 23, sits on his bed holding a UXO casing in his family home in Nonghet district, 27 January 2014. When he was 11, a UXO explosion killed three of his siblings. Ped survived but lost his sight and his ability to have children. Unable to get married like his friends, Ped is depressed and explains, â€œjoy does not seem to existâ€?. Photo Emma Wright/ARGUS 2014
Mun, 42, holds a photo of her daughter Kingkeo, killed at the age of 14 whilst farming their family plot in April 2012. Nonghet district,. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Siphone, Mun, and their youngest daughter Pimpha, aged 12, pose in front of their gasoline stand in Nonghet district, 29 January 2014. Following the death of their daughter, Kingkeo, from a UXO explosion, the coupleâ€™s two older children have left Nonghet for Vientiane as they no longer want to work in the fields. Siphone and Mun sell gasoline and have borrowed money from the bank to pay for workers to farm their field. Photo Emma Wright/ARGUS 2014
Mun, 42, and husband Siphone, 46, sit in their village home, Nonghet, 29 January 2014. They lost a daughter and Munâ€™s brother to a UXO that lay hidden from sight on their farm plot. Combined with being injured by UXOs twice herself, Mun is now too afraid to return to work in their field. Photo Jenelle Stafford/ARGUS 2014
Buau Thun, 10, sits beside an inactive UXO casing, found by his father many years ago while farming local fields, Nonghet district, 28 January 2014. Until the family can find a useful purpose for the scrap metal, it remains in the kitchen of their home. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Ka, 72, squats beside a â€œbombieâ€? used as a support pillar for his grain storage hut, 28 January 2014. He found the UXO in the forest around his village in Nonghet many years ago and dragged it home to use. Metal is in rare supply in the mountainous country around Nonghet, so every piece is put to use. Photo Jenelle Stafford/ARGUS 2014
Siphone, 46, walks through the cornfields of his familyâ€™s plot, Nonghet district, 29 January 2014. It was farming these fields that took the lives of his daughter Kingkeo, 14 and brother in law Bounmy, 28 in April 2012. Photo Simon Hardy/ARGUS 2014
Villagers arrive in the market town of Nonghet, the main town in Nonghet district, Xieng Khouang Province, 27 January 2014. Photo Emma Wright/ARGUS 2014
SKATEISTAN A REVOLUTION IN AID
Article by Samantha Manchee and James Darlington. Multimedia by James Darlington, Jameson Clifton, Samantha Manchee and Joshua White.
kateistan is a Non-Government Organisation whose aim is to provide complementary educational opportunities, support and development for youth aged between 5 and 18 years, by establishing connections between skateboarding and educational opportunities. Students sign up for a session in which they participate in a one hour skate lesson followed by a one hour session that promotes art, visual learning and critical thinking, an aspect of education that is not commonly addressed by schools in Cambodia. Arts-based critical education is an important aspect of the program, as it develops the participant’s ability to express their opinions, hopes and dreams for the future. Skateistan was founded in 2007 when Australian skateboarder Oliver ‘Ollie’ Percovich travelled to Afghanistan with his skateboard. Children watched on in excitement as he skated the streets of Kabul, cheekily hitching rides on the back of cars and bikes. Ollie observed the interest that the modern sport was generating and decided that an organisation aimed at increasing educational opportunities through skateboarding would have a significant positive impact on a young generation. In 2011, Benjamin Pecqueur who was marketing manager for Sourire D’Enfant (PSE) had his skateboard sent over from his home in France and started riding through the streets of Phnom Penh. Like Oliver, Ben saw the impact that skateboarding was having on the kids in Cambodia. Children’s eyes grew wide and wondrous as they tried it for the first time. Ben contacted Oliver (Skateistan Afghanistan) and with the support of PSE, Skateistan Cambodia was born.
Skateistan Cambodia grew at a rapid rate. The organisation now works with over 200 children per week; nearly forty percent of the participants are girls. They also provide outreach programs that are held at least 3 times a week on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. After the age of 18, participants can join a leadership program for those students who wish to continue with skateboarding. This allows them to further develop their social skills and remain involved in the Skateistan community. So how can you help to keep these kids empowered? Donate at: http://kh.skateistan.org/
Skateistan students take it in turns and attempt to ollie off of a ledge beneath a large statue of Buddha during the Skateistan outreach program held at the Porthiyaram Pagoda, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 14th January 2014. Skateistan is a Non-Government Organisation whose aim is to provide complementary educational support and development to youth aged between 5 and 18 years by establishing connections between skateboarding and educational opportunities. Students sign up for a session in which they participate in a one hour skate lesson followed by a one hour session that promotes art, visual learning and critical thinking, an aspect of education that is not commonly addressed by schools in Cambodia. Photo James Darlington/ARGUS 2014
Women throughout the Bayon Temple in Siem Reap offer visiting tourists incense sticks and prayers before touring around the majestic temple. It is also a way of income for these women as people pay for prayers to add to their experience at Bayon Temple. Photo Chelsea Gillum/ARGUS 2014
Nineteen-year-old Dennis Baeck pops a swish Backside Flip over the favoured Nerang skate park hip, 16 March 2014. Dennis is a Student studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science at Griffith University. “I only get to skate once a week because I need to hit the books and study,” says Dennis, “Saturday nights are great because the park is pretty empty.” When he does skate, he sure knows how to make a trick look stylish. Photo Aiden Ryan/ARGUS 2014
Queensland middleweight boxing champion Faris “Foxx” visualizes his next fight as he put his favourite gloves on. Photo Jorgeluis Rojasuardela/ARGUS 2014
Commercial photo shoot demonstrating a series of individual looks, Editorial Portfolio, Gold Coast Photo Dan Carson/ARGUS 2014
Ted Roosevelt mascot greets fans at centerfield plaza before Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park in Washington DC on October 11, 2012. Photo Craig Bisacre/ARGUS 2012
Exploring Ta Prohm Temple in the Angkor National Park, Siem Reap Cambodia, 20 January 2014. Photo James Darlington/ARGUS 2014
One of Lebanonâ€™s best known icons Harissa. People visit this icon from all over the world and sign their name on the wall. Lebanon, 2014. Photo Jessica Helou/ARGUS 2014
Women throughout the Bayon Temple in Siem Reap offer visiting tourists incense sticks and prayers before touring around the majestic temple. It is also a way of income for these women as people pay for prayers to add to their experience at Bayon Temple. Photo Chelsea Gillum/ARGUS 2014
Female butcher sits by her meat stall, Phnom Penh produce market, Cambodia, 12 January 2014. 35mm film. Photo James Darlington/ARGUS 2014
On a three-week volunteer program I was given to opportunity to spend time with the children living in Khula Zulu Village just outside of St. Lucia, South Africa. Many of these children live with the threat of HIV/AIDS. Only 10% of people living in this area, live without these diseases Photo Monique Montfroy/ARGUS 2013
Kong Lor Cave is an immense limestone river cave in the Khammouane Province, central Laos. The 7km long cave, 100 metres tall in places, provides a passage for the Hinboun River through the imposing Limestone range. The river cave is the only point of access for the village of Ban Natan, and is used to transport people and supplies to the village. The caves of the region hold historical importance, as local villagers used them to shelter from extensive US bombings during the Vietnam war. Photo Simon Webber/ARGUS 2014
The sun rises over the Mekong in Phnom Penh. Fishermen are up before dawn to begin work for the day. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo Kimberley McCosker/ARGUS 2014
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) breaks a tacker in the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA on October 28, 2012. Photo Craig Bisacre/ARGUS 2014
George Mason Patriots guard Bryan Allen (0) goes up for a rebound in the first half against two Virginia Common Wealth players at the Patriot Centre in Fairfax, VA on February 14, 2012. Photo Craig Bisacre/ARGUS 2014
CONTRIBUTORS KATIE ANDERSON-KELLY
Onion Skins, Jackfruit and Marigold Flowers http://akakatie.com
Anglong Pi Kaliyan Mith; Health For All; Phare Ponleu Selpak; Skateistan;The War That Never Was http://www.jamesonclifton.com
Skateistan; Singles firstname.lastname@example.org
Anglong Pi Kaliyan Mith; Health For All, Phare Ponleu Selpak http://www.peterfarmer.com.au
Borei Keila; New Hope; The War That Never Was http://www.simonhardyphoto.com
Onion Skins, Jackfruit and Marigold Flowers email@example.com
New Hope firstname.lastname@example.org
New Hope http://zoemathers.com
Anglong Pi Kaliyan Mith; Health For All; Phare Ponleu Selpak; Singles http://kimberleymccosker.com
The War That Never Was https://www.facebook.com/jenellestaffordphotography
Onion Skins, Jackfruit and Marigold Flowers email@example.com
The War That Never Was firstname.lastname@example.org
A DIGITAL LANDSCAPE OF VISUAL STORYTELLING
WE WANT YOUR STORIES!
THE ARGUS IS SEEKING NEW SUBMISSIONS FOR OUR UPCOMING ISSUES. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A STUDENT OF GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY OR FROM THE PHOTO MEDIA MAJOR TO CONTRIBUTE. WE ARE LOOKING FOR IMAGES (STORIES AND SINGLE IMAGES) WITH STRONG NARRATIVE CONTENT. THE SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE FOR THE SECOND ISSUE WE ARE RESPONDING TO THE THEME: IDENTITY. THE DEADLINE FOR THE SECOND ISSUE IS SEMESTER 2 WEEK 3 (11/08/12). PLEASE SEND YOUR PITCH OR INTEREST TO: SUBMISSIONS@THEARGUS.NET.AU FROM HERE WE CAN INVITE YOU TO OUR DROPBOX WHERE YOU CAN UPLOAD YOUR CONTENT. THEARGUS.NET.AU Left photo by Jorgeluis Rojasguardela
Centre photo by Laura Edwards
Right photo by Jessica Collins