Vietnam Trip to Meet the Irish President

Tuesday, November 2016
by Laurence Dobson

veitnam2This week four members in PEPY are travelling to Ho Chi Minh as part of the Irish President’s State Visit to Vietnam.  President Higgins is the first Irish Head Of State to visit Vietnam and all of these four people in PEPY Empowering Youth are extremely honoured and privileged that our NGO has been chosen as one of the few organisations to send representatives to meet him.

President Higgins visited our partner school in Ireland (DPETNS) in June this year. While there, he saw first-hand the work of our partnership and met Sarakk the PEPY Executive Director, Colm the Board Member, and two scholarship students. In addition, Colm managed to speak to President Higgins about his own visit to Cambodia in the 1990s and his own involvement with the partnership.

Following this initial visit to DPETNS the Irish Embassy in Vietnam extended an invitation to our organisation, in recognition of the work done as part of the exchange between DPETNS and PEPY Empowering Youth. We are humbled to be included as part of their plans and we sincerely thank the Irish Embassy for their continued support.

Two students (Sithong and Khanya) have been selected to represent PEPY in Ho Chi Minh. Both students emerged successfully through an interview and a written application process. It will be the first time that Sithong and Khanya have left Cambodia and they are extremely excited to be going to Vietnam.  PEPY accountant Konnitha has been involved with PEPY for six years now and she too is immensely looking forward to going.

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Prior to coming to Cambodia Colm spent ten years teaching in our partner school in Ireland (DPETNS) and moved here to Siem Reap in 2014.

In addition to meeting President Higgins it is our fervent wish to meet Irish Ambassador to Vietnam, Cáit Moran. Ambassador Moran has been in that position since September 2015 and we look forward to hopefully welcoming her to Siem Reap in the future. We would love the opportunity to show Ambassador Moran how the support from Irish Aid has impacted us as an organisation and the students we work with.

All of us in PEPY Empowering Youth see this trip as a reflection of the hard work that everybody in both countries has put into making this partnership a success. As the only Khmer NGO in attendance in Vietnam we will be flying both the Khmer and Irish flags high. Ní neart go cur le chéile.