I am very humbled and grateful to say that my life is not the only one that has changed after the Global UGRAD Program. Since June 2015 when I returned to my home country, Cambodia, I began to understand my purpose and my capability to make a substantial impact in my home community as a media practitioner. My academic experiences, volunteer opportunities, and cross-cultural interactions during the program encouraged me to initiate my first media literacy project. The project is titled “Media & Ethics” and was funded by World Learning’s Advancing Leaders Fellowship Program. The project aimed to tackle issues such as gender inequality on television, society, and healthcare. The project reached more than 100,000 people on a digital platform and 500 young women in provincial areas via in-person, interactive, educational workshops.
My experience with the Media & Ethics project encouraged me to dive deeper into the healthcare system for women in Cambodia. In 2016, I produced a thesis research paper and the first documentary film in Cambodia about the challenges of accessing healthcare and treatment for breast cancer patients in Cambodia. This was followed by a series of educational workshops, campaigns, and online literacy content through partnering with local hospitals, NGOs, and a private company. In 2018, I joined hands with an insurance company and had the privilege to run campaigns promoting healthy lifestyles, preventative care, and early detection for non-communicable diseases. One of the most fulfilling projects was Pink Walk, which gathered more than 4,000 participants in pink attire, celebrating breast cancer awareness month and raising funds for a local hospital.
I believe that access to healthcare information, which leads people to making more informed personal health decisions, should not be a privilege. This belief pushed me to also establish an online platform called Think with PingAnn. Through this, I have been publishing videos about breast cancer, mental health, and education-related videos by partnering with organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Transcultural Psychological Organization (TPO). The positive impacts on health education that were spread throughout those years were the result from all the education and working opportunities that were given to me, as well as the support, beliefs, and commitment of my team and all the supporting communities such as World Learning, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Department of Media and Communication, RUPP.
I am now on a new journey and hope to continue creating impacts through my pursuit of a Masters degree in Health and Risk Communication through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. I truly believe in the power of education. On behalf of all students and change-makers whose potential was invested in through educational programs, I would like to thank you for all the opportunities.
By Ping Ann Oung, Global UGRAD 2014-15, Cambodia, California State University, Monterey Bay