Inspired Activism: The Courage Fund Cambodia by Amelia Miller (A’23)

by tuftsigl
Aug 12

It is mid-July, and I have been working remotely with Courage Fund Cambodia (CFC) for approximately six weeks. With every week that passes, I learn more about not only those I am working with, and CFC as an organization, but also about what it takes to run an organization with a noble mission such as that of CFC. CFC is an organization that aids activists and families of activists who have been wrongfully imprisoned for speaking out against the Cambodian government. With the donations CFC receives, it helps to pay legal fees, medical bills, and educational expenses for activists and their families. Additionally, it keeps the public updated through a variety of social media networks on human rights violations by the Cambodian government and wrongful imprisonments of activists. As a social media intern for the organization, this is where I come in.

My primary responsibilities are to keep CFC’s social media accounts updated, with a focus on Facebook. I also create infographics, visuals, and have recently started editing videos for social media. During my time with CFC, I have been able to build upon the editing skills I already had in order to create even better content for their social media platforms.

Although I have really enjoyed the work I have been doing for CFC, I cannot help but consider the weight it carries when I am doing it. When I have previously done work with social media for clubs and organizations, I have always considered the work I do important, but I have never reflected on the impact of my work as much as I have in this role with CFC.

In my role as social media intern, I am often sent news stories of wrongful detainment, which I adapt for social media consumption. Sometimes there will be several days in a row where I am sent multiple stories of political victims. It can be disheartening to see the large number of innocent individuals who are being imprisoned simply for promoting ideas of freedom and democracy in their own country. Seeing the many stories of Cambodian civilians being oppressed truly emphasizes how vital CFC’s work is.

As an international relations major, I am an avid consumer of news and like to stay up to date on international current events. However, before working with CFC, I never realized how bad the situation in Cambodia truly is. In my position as social media intern, I am constantly consuming and sharing these stories of oppression and abuse. It is a reminder of how much change we still need to see in the world.

The activists I work with are a constant source of inspiration. They know they are putting their lives in danger by doing the work they are doing, and yet they push forward. Many of them have been imprisoned at one point or another for their activism. Even so, they have chosen activism as their career paths. They have made it their mission to make their country better, to improve the lives of Cambodians in any way they can.

Activism in Cambodia is a dangerous choice, as many activists have been killed for their work in the past. The CFC mission statement is dedicated to these people: “... to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and those who follow in their footsteps in the struggle for freedom.” I strive to remember this as I work with the CFC team. I strongly admire their bravery and drive for peace.

When my internship comes to a close, I know that I will use my work with the incredible members of CFC to inspire my own activism. While I have always envisioned doing work related to human rights in my future career, this internship has truly solidified that interest for me. I have the ability and privilege to create a positive influence in this world. Those who I work with have dedicated their lives to human rights, and have moved forward in their careers with bravery and passion. In the future, I hope to do the same.