Devata Giving Circle Supports Cambodian-American Women and Girls

Happy Khmer New Year, friends and family!

In this auspicious year of the rabbit, I wish you much health, happiness, and many blessings!

New Year celebrations in Cambodia take on many forms.  Many of us know New Year’s celebrations as a time for family, friends, special foods, games, music, and dancing.  Traditionally in Cambodia, the New Year is celebrated over three days (April 13-15), each day with its own significance.  The first and third days involve welcoming the new year, receiving blessings for the coming year, and making a fresh start.

The second day, Virak Wanabat, is a lesser known day in which people practice generosity by giving to the less fortunate in their families and communities, participating in service activities, and appreciating the gifts before them.  It is an occasion to reflect on life and assess possible new life directions.  Tied to giving, Virak Wanabat is an opportunity to further change and make change in the lives of others and develop a culture of giving and service.

As some of you may know, I am part of the Devata Giving Circle, the first Cambodian-American giving circle in the US. As a giving circle, we pool our own resources and raise money for a particular cause. The Devata Giving Circle is dedicated to supporting organizations in the US that promote the leadership of Cambodian-American women and girls. As a young immigrant and former refugee community, Cambodian-Americans have high poverty rates; our young people are more likely to drop out of high school and/or go to jail than they are to graduate from college.

The Circle has had a profound impact on my life. It empowers me as a Cambodian-American woman to connect with my community and learn more about my heritage. It gives me the opportunity to provide essential support to women and girls in the Cambodian community in the Bay Area and across the US. Lastly, it is a chance for me to honor my mother who spent such a significant time supporting this community when she was my age.

Last year, the Devata Giving Circle made its first grant to Banteay Srei. We plan on making two more grants this year. We can’t do it alone, we need your help!

In the spirit of giving and fresh starts, welcome the new year by giving to the Devata Giving Circle and help us empower Cambodian-American women and girls. Please see how you can help below!

Soursdey Chnam Thmei! Happy New Year!

Devi Leiper


We are hosted by the Asian Pacific Fund

Cash or Personal Check. Please make checks payable to Asian Pacific Fund and mail to 225 Bush Street, Suite 590, San Francisco, CA 94104. Please include a cover note or indicate DEVATA GIVING CIRCLE in the note section of the check.  Contact a Devata Giving Circle Executive Council member for cash donations.

Credit Card. The Asian Pacific Fund will receive your gift minus a 4.95 percent bank processing fee. Please consider adding this fee to your gift amount. You can donate through the web site ( or call (415) 433-6859 to provide your credit card.

Workplace Giving. Individuals who participate in workplace giving can earmark their contribution to the Asian Pacific Fund for the Devata Giving Circle.

And last but not least, moral support. Please talk to me about the Devata Giving Circle – I’d love to share more. We also will be organizing different community and fundraising events throughout the year. Please stay tuned!


Mu Sochua invited Cambodian-American graduate student and activist, Cindy D. Tan, to join her for the Vital Voices Global Leadership Tribute in Washington, DC. There, Cindy met women leaders in business and politics who were also being honored that evening. “It has been a privilege for me to work with Sochua for the last year,” said Cindy. “She is an inspiration and role model to both the women and girls in Cambodia and to the diaspora abroad. We look to her for strength and unity.” Cindy has been working to support Sochua on her cause to increase the participation of women in Cambodia.

Mu Sochua and Cindy Tan at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Conference


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