Holocaust Memorial Day Trust commissioned a special project entitled Moving Portraits. This is a collection of five photographs of genocide survivors, with each individual featured holding an object that holds significance to them.
Sokphal is a survivor of the Genocide in Cambodia. This photograph was taken in his garden.
Sokphal was the eldest child in his family, and stayed with his mother and siblings during the Genocide. His father was taken away by the Khmer Rouge. They said he would be back in three months, and they never saw him again. Sokphal took on the role of looking after the family. Most of his family survived the Genocide, escaping to refugee camps where they lived for seven years before finally being able to move to England in 1987.
Sokphal holds a photograph of his mother, taken in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand.
‘I miss my mother a lot, she was my best friend. We went through a lot of terrible times together during the Genocide. My mother kept herself strong and alive, because she hoped to find her husband again, and also for her children. My duty as the oldest child was to look after my mother.
‘In the camps we were waiting and waiting and hoping that one day we would leave the camp. There is no future there, living with barbed wire around you, and we were hoping to have a good future somewhere else.
‘It’s very important to share memories, both good and bad, not to get angry, but to avoid these things happening again. I want to keep the memory of my parents alive.’