Vanntheary Lim is Chab Dai's Butterfly Research Project Manager. We sat down and had a chat to get to know her and her story better:
Where are you from?
I come from Kampong Cham City. It’s about 123 kilometers away from here.
Where did you go to University and what did you study?
I go to Royal University of Phnom Penh. I focus on the major sociology.
What is your favorite dessert?
Actually I don’t like sweet, so any kind of dessert but mostly I like green bean or red bean.
[Interviewer: What?! Really! Wow, okay then what’s your favorite dinner food?]
I like to have sour soup!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you want to go and why?
In the world? I would like to go… it’s a lot! It’s a lot of country that I want to go, like USA, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong-
[Interviewer: You’ve been to Japan!]
Yes I’ve been to Japan but just a short time for work and haven’t had a lot of time for hanging around yet.
[Interviewer: So why do you want to go to the US?]
I have many relative there. They are in Minnesota.
What does a normal weekend look like for you?
It’s simple! My normal weekend is staying at home, cleaning my rooms, doing laundry. Mostly my weekend is always at home but sometime, because it can be boring, I go outside with my sisters to go shopping or eating something in the evening. I like going shopping a lot, especially in the local market where they sell a good deal for clothes, like in Tuol Tom Poung.
How did you hear about Chab Dai and when did you start working for Butterfly?
I had never heard about Chab Dai before. Once I was graduated from my university for a half year, I’m trying to seeking for apply job and I used to do, to get two interview already with other place but I wasn’t accepted. And then the third time, I applied with Chab Dai as a position with assistant researcher which is related to my major at the university. And luckily at that time I was accepted.
So in 2011 I start with Chab Dai.
Why did you want to work with Butterfly?
The project, actually at first doing the research in Butterfly, at that time, is irrelevant my field study and also with my experience, my competence I am capable enough to work in Butterfly project as a researcher. And time by time I found that I feel love, love of Butterfly research. Especially like, I like my job like meeting with participants. They make me feel that I should continue more.
Why do you think research is important?
I think generally research is important because it helps people understand more about something like they are, they don’t see or something they don’t know yet or they want to testing something to make sure that this is exactly true so they research, yeah.
What has been your biggest challenge working with Butterfly?
The biggest challenge for me is about… going to the field work that have a far, far place, very remote. Really challenging. And also during the interview when we have participant that have emotional trauma, like a covering of their experience so it make the researcher sad to, feel guilty of ourselves that we are digging, digging at the wound of the person’s life.
What has been your greatest accomplishment working for Butterfly?
We produce report every year and we open mind for sharing our research finding and experience to any researcher that wants to learn from us.
It’s about growing from a little researcher to a bigger position. It is one of the proud achievement that I have. Also recently our team, or two of us, will have our names in publications, academy publications.
Which quote from a survivor, or a piece of information from this study affected you the most?
It’s about, they said about, that they don’t have anyone that they can trust. A person that they can talk the effect of themselves with.
What surprised you the most from research so far?
It’s about the hidden story of participants from the first time we met and they time by time, starting to reveal, to tell us the truth but it’s not 100% true until they know us clearly, then they start to say ‘oh I’m sorry, the information in past it seem like, I play with it.’ So it’s really surprise us.
And one more thing is about the background of participants surprise me and the team as well. Because in our study we tend to select only participants that are survivor from sex trafficking or sex exploitation, but in fact, we know that some participants do not meet with our inclusion criteria. They are just like poor, high risk, yeah. They just make us feel we have learned that we should be clear of, clearly define and selective participants in the study- next time, if we have opportunity to help like another research project, yeah.
What are your hopes for the future of butterfly?
Like coming from my last statement that say if we have opportunity to help future research, like extend our research study to bigger, then it’s not just only research project, but a research program for Chab Dai.