Chan Deth is the Deputy Chief of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) in Battambang Province, Cambodia.
As part of his diverse duties, Deth spends his days visiting villagers, impoverished farmers, grassroots leaders, youth activists, and public officials throughout the province to inspire and encourage his “brothers and sisters.” He gives speeches on a regular basis about the importance of political awareness and engagement in Cambodia. En route to these various meetings, he makes sure to stop by the homes of ill leaders and supporters alike–encouraging them to stay strong and optimistic through their physical struggles.
While he has not been educated in a formal sense, he has spent the past forty years pulling information from diverse and innovative sources to become the leader he is today. At the age of twelve, after losing his father to the Pol Pot Regime, he left his seven brothers and sisters to alleviate the financial burden of his impoverished mother. He spent his days outside of barred school windows, diligently taking notes and listening to the lessons that he could not afford to attend. Using paper that he found, and sometimes the skin on his body, Chan Deth recorded important information and practiced memorization. His love of learning and genuine loyalty to the betterment of the Cambodian people have made him a powerful advocate for education and governmental reform in Cambodia.
Deth can be deemed a leader, not just by his title, but also by the deep commitment exhibited by the people that surround him. His candor and compassion is undeniable, and it fuels the work of SRP. While he does not own any property, the members of the party support him so that he and his children, some of whom were once orphans, can live in the SRP office building. Deth has decided, after receiving numerous requests from SRP members and leaders at all levels throughout the province, to run for the Senate in the upcoming elections.
He hopes to inspire courage and motivate his readers to engage politically to help build a new, thriving, and sustainable system for Cambodian government and politics.
Written by Mari Haraldsson