Short course on Media Production and Social Networks for indigenous youth continues - Cambodia

Young indigenous people representing ten countries of East Asia-Oceania region are busy these days (10-20 March 2024) at the campus of the "Don Bosco" technical school in Kep, Cambodia, for a communication workshop on social networks aimed at offering useful skills to make the voice of indigenous peoples heard, and to deepen together the dimension of synodality in the Church.

The Media Production course includes the painting of a wall for delegation, the composition of the song “Meeting of the Asian Tribes” and the production of photography, videos and podcasts using just a cell phone and all the tricks of the digital technology. “One of the facts of the development of digital technologies is the simplification of gadgets,” explains Fr. Ly Samnang, MA digital communication and director of the course. “In the beginning of the Internet revolution, digital technology was seen as a privilege of some technology geniuses from where we must depend, but the reality is that digital technology goes towards the possibility that everybody, even without training, can use technologies and it is a power for communities such as our aboriginal groups,” he said during the introduction of the course.

On Day, Fr. Albeiro led a morning meditation and facilitated a discussion on the acceptance of Aboriginal languages within the church. Delegates were encouraged to reflect on the importance of incorporating Indigenous languages into church practices. The consensus was that embracing these languages enriches the church's diversity and fosters better communication and dialogue with Indigenous communities.

In Session three, led by media teacher Seng Thy, participants learned about video editing in Indigenous languages with English subtitles. This practical skill-building session aimed to enhance the delegates' abilities to produce media content in their native tongues.

Session four focused on artistic expression, as each country was given space to create wall art depicting their nation's issues, problems, and hopes. This activity served as a showcase of cultural richness and heritage.

Day 3 began with reflections on legendary Aboriginal stories and their significance within the church. Subsequently, delegates engaged in a session on storytelling through video, further exploring ways to preserve and share Indigenous narratives.

The day concluded with a visit to a flower shop near the school, where delegates purchased plants native to their countries to accompany the wall art, symbolizing a connection between cultural heritage and environmental stewardship.

On Day 4, discussions centered on Aboriginal territories and land conservation, emphasizing the sacredness of the land and the concept of "home" for Indigenous peoples.

Day 5 offered a refreshing break on Rabbit Island, where delegates enjoyed various recreational activities and reflected on the beauty of nature. Ronnie from Malaysia-Sabah shared his profound connection with nature during a walk on the island, highlighting the importance of appreciating God's gift of the natural world.

Each day concluded with a Eucharist, followed by dinner and cultural performances showcasing the diverse traditions of the participating countries. The event culminated in a bonding experience around a fire, where delegates engaged in traditional chants, fostering a sense of unity and solidarity.

Friday, 15th of March was also special and memorable, as the young aboriginal delegates of ten Asian and Oceanian countries participated in a very special Way of the Cross, dedicated to the prayer for peace and for the care of Mother Earth, especially asking God to stop wars and conflicts around the Planet, as well as to the rise of consciousness on every person to protect the environment and to guarantee a better future for all generations.

Overall, the course provided a holistic approach to media production, cultural preservation, and spiritual reflection, fostering understanding and appreciation among delegates from different backgrounds.

Digital technology allows us to break the barriers of language and cultures, while being great tools for the preservation and promotion of the environment, something essential for the survival of aboriginal communities. Today it is possible to guard vast extensions of forests using drones, connecting to satellites and getting clean energy from solar panels. Making possible that aboriginal communities, farmers and others get trained on those technologies, would empower the possibilities for a better future and hope for the Planet and for humanity.