Young Event Organizer Creates Opportunities for Young Volunteers

Since its establishment three years ago at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA), the Reek Sai club has found volunteer work for many students. One who benefited significantly from the experience is Proum Chin Vicheth, who sensed as a freshman that volunteering would be repaid in future opportunities.

Mr. Vicheth, now a 21-year-old fourth-year architecture student, has three years of volunteer job experience under his belt. He’s been busy, and acknowledges that his life is different from those of many young men his age.

“Some people spend their free time playing football or hanging out with a group, but I don’t have the time,” he said. Since joining Reek Sai, he has spent virtually all of his free time attending meetings and workshops, and reading, activities he believes are ultimately more rewarding than just looking to have fun.

“Sometimes I think I should try to have fun while I’m still young, as others do. But then I think that working is the best way to ensure a good future,” Mr. Vicheth said.

Seeing that many willing students were unable to find volunteering opportunities, Mr. Vicheth and four of his peers set up Chaktomuk Creative Event & Entertainment, an event-management agency, in October last year. After four months, the company is running smoothly.

“We didn’t want to wait for Reek Sai to let us know about events [in need of volunteers], so we decided to split off and form a company that could find more events to work on,” he said.

The company and Reek Sai work together; students who want to volunteer first register with the club. Working as a volunteer for Chaktomuk Creative Event & Entertainment teaches students such skills as how to work with others as a group; problem solving; communication; leadership; and various forms of general knowledge, depending on which event they join. Volunteers are paid a small sum to cover transportation costs.

“By working with us, [young people] can help improve society and can acquire real working skill, to complement the classroom instruction they get at school,” he said.

“Some students think working with us is a waste of time; but it is an opportunity for them to get real experience. They have to deal with problems themselves, unlike at school, where they only have to deal with their teachers,” he said.

“The Art of Leadership,” an event organized by Chaktomuk Creative Event & Entertainment, required a volunteer force of at least 30 people to prepare, he said. For his company, quality is the main priority. To avoid putting too much pressure on his team, Mr. Vicheth only organizes one event per month.

“It was hard, starting out managing a company by myself. It’s harder than just working as a volunteer for others; I have to deal with many things,” he said.

However, having built a good network and established a reputation as a volunteer with Reek Sai, Mr. Vicheth was already skilled in problem-solving. The many good contacts at private companies and organizations he had established gave him confidence in his new job.

Mr. Vicheth said financial problems were the hardest thing to deal with at the young event-management agency. Sometimes he has to come up with a large sum to cover up-front payments. However, the company has already developed a good reputation, which helps when funds are needed quickly.

“Managing a company is hard, but we, founders, help each other out, especially when someone is busy at school,” he said.

As the company’s main mission is to help society, it seeks projects from non-governmental organizations and private companies, mostly organizing educational, charity and cultural events.

“No one told me how to run a company or be a leader; it grew out of my volunteering. This work makes me feel that I want to know more–that there are still a lot of things I don’t know,” he said.

“I read books and attended many workshops before I had enough confidence to form my own company,” he added.

Chaktomuk Creative Event & Entertainment is now looking for people to fill full-time positions. And Mr. Vicheth has more dreams to fulfill–he’s now looking at the possibility of establishing a hotel.

Article Written By: Va Sonyka