The Cambodian girl whose village was flooded by a dam

In a village in Cambodia, a young girl dreams of becoming a doctor. What happens to her dream after a dam flooded her village and her school?

Ever since there were talks about a dam construction in their area, the people of Sre Kor village, Cambodia, have been fighting to keep their land, which is home to their ancestor’s graves and their children’s inheritance.

Constructed in northeastern Cambodia, the Lower Sesan 2 dam was built over the Se San River, a major tributary of the Mekong. The project is a joint venture between the Royal Group of Cambodia and China’s HydroLancang Energy Group. Regardless of the protests and opposition from the Sre Kor village people, the dam was constructed and started operations in Nov 2017. As a result, the lands and culture of the indigenous peoples and villagers have been completely submerged, and more than 5000 people had to resettle in a land new to them. 

The Cambodian girl whose village was flooded by a dam (2021)

In the village of Sre Kor in Cambodia, a young girl dreams of becoming a doctor. But when a dam was constructed nearby, flooding her village and school, her family had to resettle to a new land and start their lives all over again. When will she get to go to school again?

This illustrated story is commissioned by Innovation for Change – East Asia. It is part of the project ‘Stories of the Impact of China’s BRI’, which features eight stories about communities who are severely impacted by projects that fall under China’s BRI or other Chinese-led development. For each story, we brought together a local community partner and an artist/storyteller. The local community partner did the research and analysis of the issues at stake for their community. After that, the artist/storyteller, with the guidance of a story curator, turned the research into a story. Featuring stories from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, this project aims to show the range of adverse impacts brought on by developments that do not listen to the concerns of the affected communities. In amplifying their voices, we hope they can be heard.


Cambodian village now fully submerged by lower sesan 2 dam (Earthrights)

China-Backed Dam Causes Mass Evictions in Cambodia (Radio Free Asia (RFA))

Cambodia’s Chinese dam conundrum (East Asia Forum)

The Clean Development Mechanism and large dam development: Contradictions associated with climate financing in Cambodia (Climatic Change) 

The Long Journey of the Belt and Road Resistance (Innovation for Change-East Asia)

Learning Spaces on China’s Belt & Road Initiative and Beyond (Innovation for Change-East Asia and Social Innovations Advisory)


The name of the artist-storytellers and local community partner are withheld for their security.


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