Youth for Peace (YFP) has started memory work at Samroung Knong after the consultation process on memory initiatives in 2009. Since then the community memorial committee established and capacity building developed.
From 2013 to 2014, YFP received funds from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the Victims Support Section (VSS) of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to implement this project. Within this project the Samroung Knong Community Peace Learning Centre was built.
The goal of the Community Peace Learning Centre is to preserve the mass killing site in Wat Samroung Knong for it’s rich history and transform it to a place of intergenerational dialogue, and peace education for the community. Some of the key activities conducted at the Community Peace Learning Centre include: public forums, civil party forums, training skills on craftsmanship, computer training courses, film screening, radio programs, youth camps, capacity building for youth, authorities and community people, study tours, religious festivals, fundraising and documenting historic cities. The main focus is on history education, memory work, transitional justice, reconciliation, good governance, human rights, and community development.
The Community Peace Learning Centre is also listed in the verdict of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) as a Civil Party Reparation on the 7th August 2014 for the case 002/01 against Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.
Some of it’s history includes: On 17th April, 1975 the Khmer Rouge regime known as Democratic Kampuchea seized power. In 1976, Wat Samroung Knong was turned into a prison by the Khmer Rouge. The Buddhist monks of Wat Samroung Knong were forced to defrock and work very hard in the fields. They also dug a creek which then was named “The Monk’s Creek”. According to former prisoners of Wat Samroung Knong, the kitchen hall was changed to a prison for minor crimes and the Dharma hall was changed to a prison for serious crimes. The 19th century temple was used to detain women and children. The Khmer Rouge guards and soldiers lived in a big wooden house located near the new temple today where monks used to live before 1975. Other buildings were turned into torture and interrogation houses.
In 2015, Samroung Knong Community Peace Learning Centre is also in the process of developing an information centre so that the community can access information via the internet, daily newspaper, television, radio, and read documents that are in the library, whilst still continuing to implement the key activities under the support of DVV international through Youth for Peace. In addition, the project was also funded by IFA, OSI, and GIZ and USAID.