A Platform by Young Cambodian Women for Youth Address Personal Issues Rarely Discussed

The photo shows “Dosslarb” team. Sitting (from left to right) is Bun Saosopheakneath and Hing Socheata. Standing is Chinh Ratha and Seng Solydeth. Photo provided.
  • Sao Phal Niseiy
  • August 2, 2020 10:04 AM

They provide essential information on sexuality, health and reproduction that all should know 

Four young Cambodian women have created a platform named “Dosslarb” whose goal is to encourage a wider discussion among young people on some taboo topics such as sexual and reproductive health. The team includes Bun Saosopheakneath, Hing Socheata and Seng Solydeth who are graduate students from the Department of Media and Communications at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and Chinh Ratha who holds a degree in accounting and finance from the CamEd Business School. Cambodianess’ journalist Sao Phal Niseiy interviewed Saosopheakneath, the group representative, on their efforts to produce effective contents, the challenges they meet as well as their plans for the future.   

Sao Phal Niseiy: You are one of the founders of Dosslarb. First and foremost, why have you chosen “Dosslarb,” or grow wings, as the name for your platform?

Bun Saosopheakneath: Meeting in a coffee shop, the four of us were trying to come up with names to represent the team and the platform. Suddenly, we thought of the word “dosslarb” that we usually hear our parents use. The connotation of this word might sound negative. It refers to parents being sarcastic, saying that their children have “wings” now, that they can do whatever they want without listening to their parents. However, for us, we want to use “Dosslarb” in a different, positive sense. Of course, it represents the wings of young people, being the armor of youth so that they can speak out and express themselves freely and bravely. And we, as co-founders of Dosslarb, want to provide young people with input as we motivate ourselves to have resilience and shiny wings.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Regarding the contents, why do you think such contents are vital? 

Bun Saosopheakneath: There are many reasons physically and psychologically that can explain how important it is for one to enhance education and information about sexual and reproductive health. It involves the behavior of young people towards sexuality. It is about their life-changing decisions. Unplanned pregnancy; sexual health including protection, diseases; healthy and unhealthy relationships; sexual pressure, understanding our body, and more: all are necessary topics to discuss on the theme of sexual and reproductive health and well-being. If they know all this, young people can make the best decisions for themselves and can identify risky situations they might face. In addition, the topic itself is hardly discussed: That’s why we want to have a platform where they can find reliable information to read, discuss and share.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Since you started on this project, how has the project been going? Tell us about the greatest challenges you have faced as you searched and developed contents.  

Bun Saosopheakneath: Dosslarb has been going on since January 2020. So, it has been almost eight months now. As a newly-established platform, we have faced several challenges during the operation. First, limited human resources and finances. We want to do a lot of things but, due to time constraints as we all have full-time jobs, we can only take one small baby step at the time to build “Dosslarb” and make it grow gradually. Secondly, since our content involves medical terms and requires accurate explanation, we try to contact experts from different organizations to answer our questions. Thirdly, Dosslarb’s main purpose is to engage young people in our activities and content as we want to highlight their voice and understand their perspective. Yet, it is a bit of a challenge to call on them to join us because they are shy and feel insecure about opening up and talking about sexuality.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Share with us how you as a young woman can manage to handle such challenges.

Bun Saosopheakneath: I think it is because of our commitment that we strive to overcome [challenges] without giving up. We love to develop content and, more importantly, it can contribute and help other young people. We are not experts who can teach them, but we are learning along the way with them and share the essential information we find. Most importantly, we have received support and encouragement from them on the Dosslarb page and it is a motivation for us.

Sao Phal Niseiy: You and your team are inspiring many as you are able to run this project and share important knowledge. Some young women out there may wish to start some projects that could also be beneficial for women in this society, but they remain hesitant. So, what would be your message to encourage them to start?

Bun Saosopheakneath: They should consider different factors, especially the time and plan for their project. If they have a clear plan and vision, they can start right away with baby steps like us. Working on an online platform is an advantage: They can do it whenever they have free time without spending much. So, let’s try it out and see the result. And if anyone wants to start working on a topic similar to Dosslarb, we welcome him/her and will work together.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Looking into the future, how do you believe your project will unfold?  

Bun Saosopheakneath: In the foreseeable future, Dosslarb wants to become a go-to platform for creative content about youth health and well-being. Right now, we are working only on the Facebook platform. In a few months, we expect to launch a website as well to make it easier for people to browse through for content and get to know Dosslarb better. Our ambition is to become a media company producing various contents and providing others with media solutions.

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