Saturday, April 18, 2009

The amazing Mu Sochua

For people who have not heard of this incredible Cambodian woman:

Left Cambodia in the early 1970s, won a scholarship to Berkeley and worked as a counselor and translator for Cambodian refugees; became a US citizen. Then organised schooling for Cambodian children and social services for women in the refugee camps set up by the UN on the border between Thailand and Cambodia.

Finally able to enter Cambodia in 1989. Founded the first women’s organization in Cambodia, Khemara. In 1998 ran for election and won a seat in parliament. She was the first woman ever to run the Women's Affairs Ministry.

In 2002, mobilised 25,000 women candidates to run for commune elections in 2002, and more than 900 women were elected. Also negotiated an agreement with Thailand allowing Cambodian women trafficked as sex workers to return to their home country instead of being jailed.

Stepped down in 2004 to join the opposition. In 2005 she was nominated for a Nobel Prize for her work against sex trafficking of women.

Read more about Mu Sochua here and here.

Update: click here for Mu Sochua's letter.

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