Fashion Show in New Orleans
Karen and her non-profit organization, Strengthening Cambodian Communities Project (SCC), will be hosting a Nomi Network Fashion Show in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 31st, 2010. The show will spread awareness about Cambodia, sex slavery, and human trafficking while also showcasing Nomi Network's collection of bags produced by Cambodian women who are regaining their independence and financial livelihood. This benefit event will also have bags available for purchase and donation opportunities. All proceeds go to Nomi Network, to continue their vital efforts in recuing and rehabilitating these women.
You have multiple jobs. Tell us about them, and which do you like best and why?
I have three jobs. I am a nurse, and I also do modeling. Thirdly, I am the director of volunteers for a non-profit organization called Strengthening Cambodian Communities Project (SCC) that I co-founded with my partner in Australia, Tara Miller. I enjoy all three jobs; being a nurse enables me to rebuild lives, while modeling helps me obtain exposure that I need to spread awareness about Cambodia. Being a part of SCC is my true passion--to help Cambodia regain the glory that it once had.
Is that related to the work you’re doing with Nomi?
Yes. I am using my modeling notoriety and connections in the business to direct and coordinate the upcoming Nomi Network fashion show here in New Orleans, LA.
How did you hear about Nomi Network?
Stephen Bauer found me on Face Book and e-mailed me about Nomi Network and their ambitions.
What inspired you to get involved?
The same day that Stephen wrote me, I had been looking for ways that I could help. I was looking for anything related to human trafficking, especially sex slavery. I am passionate about that, especially in Cambodia.
What is the biggest obstacle that you have had to overcome as a Cambodian woman?
My biggest obstacle has been to overcome the pain and anger that my parents inflicted on me as a child growing up in the States. The pain and anger of my parents was a result of the having to endure a great deal of suffering under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in empowering women?
We need to get women to understand that they have the same rights as men. In foreign countries, when trying to help women empower themselves, we must first understand the culture and the values that the people abide by. However, we must also work to get men to understand that women have the same rights as men. In male dominated societies women tend to be looked upon with contempt and as mere objects. To teach women to be able to stand up to that will be a great feat.
- interview by Stephen Bauer/Diana Mao