Oct. 22, 2003
Contact: Ward Mullens

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photographs are available upon request.

Survivor of Cambodian “Killing Fields” To Speak at EMU Oct. 28

YPSILANTI – Sophal “Sophie” Stagg fled the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia almost 25 years ago. While her life has changed dramatically, she is trying to help others understand that things have not improved for many in her native land.
Stagg, 37, will discuss her experiences in Cambodia and her recent return to the country when she visits Eastern Michigan University Tuesday, Oct. 28, 4 p.m. at the Halle Library Auditorium. This event, which is free and open to the public, is part of EMU’s International Week schedule of events.

Separated from her family at age 9, Stagg was sent to work camps in the Cambodian jungle where she endured disease, near-starvation, and other atrocities.

Her experiences are chronicled in her book, “Hear Me Now” (Mancorp Publishing, 1996). She also was featured in the PBS documentary, “The Genocide Factor,” which was produced by Robert Emery and aired in February 2003.

Now a United States citizen, Stagg returned to Cambodia in 2000 to find that things have improved little. She saw children living on garbage heaps, digging for food and things to sell; children missing limbs as a result of land mines; and children with no health care or education and little hope.

Stagg is trying to help the children of Cambodia, even if it is one child at a time.

She and her husband, William, have founded the Southeast Asian Children’s Mercy Fund (SACMF). SACMF provides food, clothing, health care and education to Cambodian children. Annually, SACMF helps more than 450 children and their family members. All donated money and goods go directly to provide assistance to children. The Staggs and Cambodian relatives cover administrative costs.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.