December 13, 2009

The Community Health Center

See a multimedia version of this story at this link.

Back in Lowell, Massachusetts, where 1 on 3 is from Cambodian origin. The city holds the second largest Cambodian community in the US - with 30 000 people - after Long Beach, Ca. One of the most recent part of the immigration heritage that has built the city since the mid 19th century, the Cambodians refugees and immigrants in Lowell have definitely "shaped" the city in a way no other community has done before, with its economical, social or cultural activities, its restaurants and shops. Still, many members of this community struggle with low paid jobs, lack of education, physical or psychological health issues.

For them, the Metta Health Center - one of the six community health centers in Lowell - has specialized since its opening in 2000 in Southeast Asian medicine and resources, mixing both western medicine and traditional Asian practices such as massage, meditation or acupuncture.
For the Cambodian Americans of Lowell and around, Metta Health Center is a great place to consult a doctor or a nurse, as everything in the center is made to put them comfortable: Cambodian staff, Khmer language in use, art from Cambodia displayed on the walls… More than 5000 patients have consulted at Metta Health Center in 2008 - a large amount being from Cambodian origin - to find affordable quality health services…

In the Buddhist Pali language
“Metta” means “Love”, “Compassion”…
Above: Cambodian native Chhan Touch D’Avanzo (right), a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Metta Health Center in Lowell examines Cambodian native Ou Nhanhm (left), 64, a father of 6, currently unemployed for health related issues.

Above: with the help of Cambodian native Sonith Peou (center) - a Program Director at Metta Health Center – for the interpretation between English and Khmer, acupuncturist Judy Fang (left) gets ready to treat Cambodian native Sreng Putha, 53, (right), who doesn’t talk English much. In May 2009 Sreng Putha was in a car accident. Since then he suffers back pains and come to Metta Health Center once or twice per week to ease and treat these pains.

December 3, 2009

Survivors' Voices, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

See a multimedia version of this story at this link.

After California, Oregon, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts non profit ASRIC (Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia) has organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Nov. 13th and 14th 2009 what may be its last workshop to help the survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime share their stories, file a complaint for the trial now in process in Phnom Penh, possibly have their voice be heard.
ASRIC is guided by its mission to seek social peace and health for Cambodians who have been directly and indirectly affected by the Khmer Rouge regime, and still suffering from it, 30 years after the collapse of the regime.
Thanks to the support of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University, and with the help of organizations of Pennsylvania (Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Khmer Post East Coast), ASRIC could gather in Philadelphia a group of volunteer lawyers and students to listen to the stories of survivors and help them file.
Today, after 10 workshops in 2009 in the United States, ASRIC has already received and filed more than 150 complaints that will soon be addressed to the ECCC in Phnom Penh (the “Khmer Rouge trial”) for the second part of the trial that should start early next 2010…

On the picture above: Cambodian native Soeun Tauch (right), 73, shares her experience and story as survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime with Cambodian native Phatry Derek Pan (left), a South East Asian specialist, human rights writer, and an ASRIC volunteer to help receive the stories of survivors.

On the picture left: Leakhena Nou, Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach, and Founding Director of ASRIC, receives the stories of survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime.