Portrait of the month: Sakony Pen, Project Coordinator

Nov 24, 2023
Sakony Pen

Kony, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Sakony PEN. I'm the mother of two children and I've been living in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, for 40 years. Since birth, in fact! I started working for an NGO in 2007, initially as an administrative assistant, and have progressed over the years. At the same time, I completed my education with a degree in English. 

Then in 2016, I won a scholarship to pursue higher education in Australia, where I graduated with a Master's degree in Public Health from Queensland University of Technology in 2020. After graduating, I resumed my professional career in the field of disability and rehabilitation with an international NGO. I now have over 10 years' experience in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

When did you join Planète Enfants & Développement and what's your role?

In 2006, I met a little girl selling roses by the river. Something clicked and I began to develop my desire to fight against the exploitation of children. The opportunity arose this year when I discovered the association's Pegase project. This project aims to protect children from violence, trafficking and exploitation in 4 countries: Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam. As project coordinator, I ensure that the project is implemented efficiently and to a high standard. I work closely with the project, monitoring and evaluation team in each country. For example, I organize regular meetings with partners and make field visits to provide technical assistance. I supervise partners' budget requests and expenditure, working closely with the accounting and finance manager...

Do you have an emotion to share with us?

In the Poipet reception center for isolated children that we support, on the border with Thailand, many children have suffered violence, exploitation and trafficking. A little girl of around 5 drew a picture and showed it to me. She drew her mother, her family and her home. I asked her why she had drawn it. She replied that she wanted to go home to her twin sister and her family. I hope this wonderful project will help reduce these situations by enabling children to live in a protected and safe environment, giving them a lot of hope for the future.

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