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Reflecting on the ‘Breakthrough’ Journey

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Reflecting on the ‘Breakthrough’ Journey

by Ros Pechputhika, co-founder of BREAKTHROUGH

Growing up as the second child but the first daughter in my family, I had always felt the pressure, expectations and the unequal workload that was distributed in my house for me. I spent most of my childhood listening to what others had to say about what girls are supposed to do. While I didn’t completely believe it, I kept my thoughts to myself.

It wasn’t until I finished high school and went to Phnom Penh to pursue my undergraduate studies that I began to challenge those opinions that were imposed on me.

Ros Pechputhika, co-founder of BREAKTHROUGH © BREAKTHROUGH

Exploring what this academic journey had in store for me, I was lucky enough to come across different women-led communities that provided safe spaces and platforms for girls to develop themselves. One of these is the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA). YLA is an initiative by UN Women Cambodia that brings together girls from various backgrounds to discuss gender-related issues and be empowered to become feminist leaders.

After I graduated from YLA with a positive mindset and very much inspired to contribute based on what I had learned, I joined other YLA alumni as well as other inspiring women leaders from different backgrounds to co-found ‘Breakthrough’.

Launched in December 2020, ‘Breakthrough is a movement, born from the aspirations of Beijing+25, to advance a new generation of gender activists, and spark a new movement in gender activism in society. We are a group of diverse young women from YLA, community groups and gender activists throughout Cambodia coming together with a central purpose to promote gender equality in Cambodia through storytelling and sharing of experiences.

Co-founders of Breakthrough ©BREAKTHROUGH

One of the main highlights for me as a part of ‘Breakthrough’ is the privilege to be work alongside so many different women from diverse backgrounds, with distinct talents and expertise. Through our common goals and aspirations, we have been able to bring together those differences within our team and use them to our advantage in every project that we do.

Co-founders of Breakthrough ©BREAKTHROUGH

In our very first short film series entitled “My Hero,” each of the co-founders was given the opportunity to direct their own films, with the subject: ‘a hero in real life’. Just think of how exciting that is!

While it was indeed both exciting, it was also nerve-wracking, since not all of us had experience in video production. Personally, it was absolutely rewarding. As the films were directed by our diverse ‘Breakthrough’ team, we were able to capture a range of experiences and stories that represent the diverse challenges that women in Cambodia face. Ultimately each film depicted a heroes’ journey, and an inspirational role model, that many women or girls from different life journeys can relate to.

Following on from the success of this film series, we’ve been able to be a part of many other activities on this road to promoting gender equality. This has included hosting a writing competition, creating Vox pop videos to raise awareness about gender topics to the public, as well as supporting and collaborating with other projects to share our experiences. Gender inequality is a deep-rooted issue and therefore, we never intend to walk alone but instead look for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and youth groups to deliver our vision.

To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we organized a dynamic multi-media event held at the Factory in Phnom Penh, during the 16 days against gender- based violence. Our celebration brought together leading feminist activists, civil society, performers, film screenings, and was led the youth founders of the ‘Breakthrough’ movement.





Looking back, we have done so much within just a year! But we believe that it is our responsibility to do even more next year and beyond. Therefore, we are calling for everyone to become a part of our ‘Breakthrough’ movement by engaging with our content on social media and participating in our upcoming activities. We also invite civil organizations and like-minded youth groups to collaborate on our future projects. Only together can we work towards gender equality in Cambodia!

Watch our event:


Facebook @breakthroughKH

Instagram @breakthrough_KH

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