The world’s leading Khmer Rouge Archive, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), has officially launched its new multimedia educational website – Khmer Rouge History. With Her Excellency Ton Sa-Im, Under-Secretary of State from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport presiding over the launch, this online platform was released on 8 September 2017, with the aim of educating Cambodians about this dark period in history.
Sparked by DC-Cam’s central message of keeping history alive and relevant and desire to include the Khmer Rouge in high school curriculum, the website itself was designed using a curated selection of sleek and minimal elements, along with DC-Cam Archive’s raw and rare historical materials.
This was to create a more immersive environment for young people to understand the history behind the Khmer Rouge, especially since over 70% were born after that era. “A society cannot know itself if it does not have an accurate memory of its own history,” DC-Cam’s Executive Director, Youk Chhang mentions.
To help youths understand the course of events that have occurred, a series of interesting interactive features were implemented to complement their learning. This includes:
A timeline spanning from the 1920s to 2015, highlighting important events
A built-in Encyclopedia that covers over 40 topics including the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, Pol Pot, forced marriages and Khmer Rouge Tribunal
A dynamic blog that constantly updates new research findings and the latest Khmer Rouge-related news
A profile page that includes personal stories from both members of the Khmer Rouge and victims of the tragic regime, along with videos and soundbites so users can hear the stories from the eyewitnesses themselves
A linked Facebook page that offers additional educational materials and allows users to share their own thoughts and stories about the genocide regime
All these unique features play a part in elevating the newly-released platform, so as to create various discussion platforms to keep the stories of the Khmer Rouge period alive amongst the Kingdom’s people till today. It also “opens the door to a deeper understanding of this part of Cambodian history”, as said by Kyle James, a consultant from DW Akademie.
Apart from that, this platform was further made accessible through its ability to be responsive since it can be used on an array of digital platforms, such as smartphones, computers and even tablets. This helps to make something of the past way more relatable to the youth of today, especially by using mediums that truly resonate with them.
This project was also worked in collaboration with DW Akademie, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Also, the website was realised by Phnom Penh-based creative agency, Endorphine Concept in terms of design and programming; the same agency that runs Geeks in Cambodia.
If you are interested in learning more about the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, that took the lives of over 1.7 million people between 1975 and 1979, visit the website here.