Global Children Cambodia would like to send its love and thoughts to those killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris over the weekend. Though we mourn alongside Parisians and the global community for the losses of life at the hands of extremism in all forms and in all places, we feel particularly connected to those who lost their lives while dining at the Cambodian Restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge, at the time of the attacks.
Le Petit Cambodge is one of the few strongholds of the Cambodian community in Paris, France, serving the needs and celebrating the culture of the roughly 70,000 Cambodians living in Paris. Many Cambodians settled in Paris after fleeing the Khmer Rouge (Click here to read an NY Times article on the celebration of Cambodian New Year in Paris) and have continued to raise their families in the City of Lights.
Several of our volunteers have personal connections to Paris, whether through family members, travel, friendships, or through a love of the French language and culture. We are deeply saddened to inform our readers that one of our volunteers has a connection to two of those who were killed. We will be honoring those whose lives were lost at Global Children Cambodia. Please check back with us for updates on how to celebrate their lives and memories.
Le Petit Cambodge has been open at its current location since 2011, but its presence was first felt in 1979, when the Ben family and their two children opened a small, family-oriented Cambodian restaurant on Boulevard Montparnasse. In 1996, their business grew tremendously, and they realized they could run a larger restaurant while maintaining the family atmosphere cultivated on Boulevard Montparnasse. Once they moved to Rue Alibert, their business grew alongside their name in both the French and Cambodian communities.
Like Global Children, Le Petit Cambodge also values education as the gateway to social change and individual empowerment. According to their website, they are involved with the nonprofit “L’Avenir Cambodge” (The Cambodian Future/Future Cambodian) which furthers “Development in the poorest rural areas of Cambodia, projects in the field of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, communication lines construction, solidarity renewable energy, construction of schools and colleges; helps orphans; irrigation and training in new rice cultivation methods; construction of latrines and construction of health centers; and biogas development.” To learn more about L’Avenir Cambodge, please click here to visit their website.
It speaks to the closeness of the Global Children community that our immediate response was to confirm the safety of our volunteers and their loved ones. We offered words of comfort to one another, shared in our grief, and made sure to inform each other about the safety of our friends in Paris. We are also humbled to see the response of social media of our students and staff members, many of whom who have shown their support for Parisians as well as other nations that have recently come under attack, like Lebanon and Syria.
Again, we send our love, thoughts, and support to those affected in any way by this tragedy. Our doors are always open for anyone needing to talk.