Having witnessed first-hand the damage caused by development projects in the Mekong Region and their frequent disregard for human rights, Chalefun is determined to use her photography and film-making skills to document and raise awareness of these issues and affected individuals’ stories. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling to create a social movement, she hopes that, through visual media, she can raise local Mekong people’s voices and reinforce community capacity to enable local people to share their narratives and achieve justice. She has been doing this with her work for EarthRights International, producing a number of documentaries and educational videos that have been used to both mobilise support among a large online audience, and bring injustices to authorities’ and investors’ attention. Her work covers numerous themes, from sustainable development and climate justice, to gender equality and rights to participation. In addition, she has been involved in running photography and video workshops at for schools and alumni.
With the JWHI grant money, Chalefun will attend Summer School in Cinema Human Rights and Advocacy, a training initiative jointly developed by EIUC and CHRA, in order to further enhance her advocacy video-making and narrative skills, with the long-term goal of developing an alternative online platform in order to counterbalance the limited space for political participation and media representation for the people of the Mekong. In addition, part of the fund will be used to produce a short video about human rights defenders in the Mekong region in order to convey the community’s perspective on sustainable development.