Som Chanmony (Mony) is the Director of Peace Bridges, a not-for-profit organization in Cambodia that is changing culture.
The Asian nation carries many reminders of the years of desolation under the Pol Pot regime. Among the problems arising from the era is a national distrust of foreigners, a tendency to attempt to resolve conflict with violence, and serious issues with domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Australian groups Global Interaction and Transform Aid International (through Baptist World Aid Australia) both partner with Peace Bridges. “This is foundation work for our nation,” Mony said.
“We work with communities, families, churches, in prisons and universities, helping people change their lives through learning and living conflict resolution.” The work of transformation is slow but the changes in communities are staggering. “There are now whole villages where our trainers go to visit and the men are not in the village to talk with them because they’re at work on their farms,” Mony said.
“When we first started working with them, the men would be at home drunk, causing problems and arguing with their wives. The children were hungry and fighting too.” The skills the Peace Bridges team teach are actually changing the culture of the groups they work with, the unlearned attitudes and actions of the local community.
Mony visited Perth in early August to speak casino spiele at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church and Wooddale Baptist Church. He also taught a morning seminar at Riverton Baptist where seven people attended. Inglewood Community Church wants to see the lives of families transformed as they encounter Jesus. “There is much Australians can learn from Mony and the Peace Bridges team,” Dushan Jeyabalan, Baptist World Aid Australia’s Western Australian Partnership Officer, said.