Chea Cheysovanna: CYWEN Founder

Chea Cheysovanna

Vanna, as she is known, has walked quite a path with JASS Southeast Asia so far. It makes sense that this path led her to join with others from the local JASS circle to start a young women’s network in Cambodia. Vanna was among the participants at the first JASS Southeast Asia regional gathering, an inspiring process held on the shores of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Before this, Vanna’s work with a local NGO in Phnom Penh left her feeling somewhat removed, using other women’s stories to highlight issues in advocacy around women’s needs. The 2008 JASS process inspired her to ground her activism in her own personal experience. Sharing her own stories in her work, Vanna found, made her a more effective facilitator and community organizer. With confidence and skills from JASS’ capacity building, Vanna was promoted to a leadership role within the NGO. These days, Vanna is engaged in a new advocacy process, pushing for affordable payment plans that will enable communities, especially women, to rent or buy land. And, through CYWEN, encouraging other young women to speak out on pressing issues for Cambodians like them, such as jobs and reproductive rights.

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