So Phina's current role is Knowledge, Networks and Policy Program Manager at Cambodian Living Arts.
In addition, Phina has recently founded Kampu-Mera Editions, a publishing company, which recently released its third publication at the 6th Cambodia Book Fair Last December. Most of the stories are fictional short story featuring social issues such gender, violence, everyday life with a special focus on contemporary Cambodian women issues. October 2017, she organized the first Khmer Literature Festival in Siem Reap and she has been playing active roles in the literary community.
Born and raised in Pursat Province – about 200 kilometres from Phnom Penh – she completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, a leading university in Cambodia and volunteered in her spare time at the Centre for Child Mental Health in Ta Khmao, Kandal Province. Mrs Phina said that Cambodia needs people with a better education, and to empower women and girls to reach their highest potential.
Mrs So Phina admits she was quite confused when she first applied for an Australia Award, because she had no idea what Australia would look like, or what sort of support she could expect to find in the community. Nevertheless, with motivation, and encouragement and success stories from her friends, she decided to apply for a scholarship in Australia.
“I had done some comparisons between Queensland, and Melbourne and Adelaide and asked questions of people who had lived there before, so that I could make a very good decision… All the same, it was challenging.”
Mrs So Phina, whose husband and two young children joined her in Australia after six months, still has good connections with her tutors, Australian friends, and Cambodian students still in Australia completing their Masters, or PhD studies.
“It is important for potential Australia Award applicants to know just how very, very helpful Australian tutors and lecturers are. I was told that I must speak to them when struggling with any subjects, or need their help, so I approached them, and it really worked. They helped me a lot.”