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Khmer Mother and Daughter Intergenerational Leadership Training

Sophy's Restaurant, January 30th, 2016

The Khmer Mother and Daughter Intergenerational Leadership Training (KMDLT) is a unique program designed by myself and our KPA staff, for the purpose of closing the intergenerational gap between the traditional Khmer mothers and Khmer American daughters.  Many mothers and daughters often do not realize that they inherit a rich heritage and culture through the past glorious civilization of Khmer history from the Angkor Empire.  They have no idea the leadership of women and girls was crucial in governing the Empire.  According to history, Empress Indradevi was the Champion of education.  She built the first library for the nation, promoted literacy and built schools for all girls, regardless of their family status and developed a leadership program for many.  She founded the first medical clinic that conducted research in traditional medicine to treat and heal the people.  The facts and proof were inscripted on the wall of Angkor Watt Temple until today.

After the dark period of the Cambodian Genocide -- Cambodian society, culture, civilization and literature reflecting the glory of the Angkor Empire was completely destroyed.  For this reason, the children of the genocide survivors who were born here in America, many have little knowledge about their own history and the rich heritage of their parent’s roots.  This led to have a huge misunderstanding and a clash of culture inside their own families, in particular between mothers and daughters.

To build and develop their skills, strengthen relationships and to create friendly dialogue between the intergenerational mothers and daughters, KPA conducted the KMDILT for a year-long period.  The curriculum was thoughtfully developed to teach them their own history, culture, traditions, societal structure, and family structure related to women’s roles in families.  In addition, an emphasis on educating participants between Khmer and American culture helped promote the understanding for both parties. 

Furthermore, the mothers and daughters also learned about various topics that ranges from public speaking, loss, grief, coping skills, effective communication between family members, advocacy, being active in the community, participating in civic engagement, group discussions, nutrition and healthy cooking and exercise, learning how to make patterns for their own outfit, etc.

I am so fascinated to see both mothers and daughters in this training program evolve and grow stronger, have a great supportive relationship with each other and build a solid team to create happiness in their own families and the people around them.

To make the Mother and Daughter Conference a hit, three pairs of mothers and daughters volunteered to participate in the Mock Panel Discussion facilitated by Dr. Leakhena Heng, Ph.D. to be prepared for the conference.  I can’t say enough about this first Khmer Mother and Daughter Intergenerational Leadership group as I proudly call them they are the Mothers and Daughters Champions.

Chan Hopson

Executive Director

This training program was partly funded by the Josephine S.Gumbiner FoundationLiberty Hill Foundation and Cambodian Association of America.
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