On Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday in India to celebrate the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, my parents and I were invited to attend a filming at the Bright Lights Film Series at Emerson College courtesy of Dr. Sughra Raza, a family friend in Boston and editor of 3 Quarks Daily, an interdisciplinary filter blog.
Lauren Shaw, a Professor at Emerson’s Department of Visual and Media Arts produced Angkor’s Children through a culmination of several years of work with her Kickstarter campaign.
As a Founding Member and Secretary of Khelshala, it was an inspiring and humbling experience to meet Sreypov and Phunam, two of the Angkor children featured in the film as well as social entrepreneurs from the Cambodian Living Arts and Phare Cambodian Circus who worked for decades to mobilize the Cambodian diaspora in the United States and elsewhere to empower the next generation in Cambodia.
What can Khelshala and others learn from those working to promote peace, development and human rights through the creative sector?
- Sacrifice – the founders, artists and community members all had to give up something in their lives for the greater common good.
- Commitment – staying true in the long term to their social justice cause was not expected, but came from within.
- Community – an ecosystem of individuals and organizations nurtured the organizers to mobilize the diaspora.
- Funding – sports and the arts are often first to be cut in public education.
- Inter-generational dialogue – exchanges across generations in sport and music can keep traditions alive.