Feb. 7, 2021

Diving in to Move Forward w/ Sovanna Devin Pouv

Diving in to Move Forward w/ Sovanna Devin Pouv

(S4, EP 6)

Trigger Warning for this episode will contain topics of PTSD trauma, suicide, and other related trauma.  For this Season 4 theme, “Process”, I interviewed Khmer-American community leader Sovanna Devin Pouv back in November.  Sovanna was born in the refugee camps after the Khmer Rouge, and lived his early childhood years in Chicago before moving to Lowell, Massachusetts where he has been living there with his family since then.  Sovanna has been involved in nonprofit specifically with the Cambodian community in Lowell for years now, and is currently serving as the Executive Director with CMAA Lowell otherwise known as the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Lowell.  We spent time talking about his upbringing including his early traumas of his family’s struggle during the refugee resettlement in both Chicago and in Lowell. Sovanna talked about being raised by a single mother and the traumas that she has experienced, and how this informed him to take better care of his mental health.  We talk about what the Khmer-American community is like in Lowell which is the 2nd largest Khmer community after Long Beach, and his current leadership role with CMAA Lowell. 



Sovanna is currently the Executive Director of the CMAA (Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell). Born in the Sra Kao and then later relocated to Khao-I-Dang refugee camp in Thailand after the Khmer Rouge genocide, Sovanna and his family moved to Chicago in 1981 as refugees. After settling in Chicago for 7 years, his mother discovered that her sister, the only surviving member of her family from the genocide was living in Lowell, MA. They eventually moved and resettled in Lowell to reunite w/ other family members.

Sovanna served with United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in 2001-13. With his passion and determination, Sovanna's goal is to give back to his community that raised him. Sovanna currently serves on the board of directors for many organizations including the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, the Lowell Development and Financial Corporation and more. He is also recognized by Eastern Bank as Advocate of the Year in 2017, Young Professional of the Year in 2019, and one of Lowell’s 100 most influential people in 2019 by the International Institute of New England.

Today, Sovanna lives in Lowell with his wife Lianna Kushi and their 3 daughters. Through his Khmer-American experience, he hopes to bring people together from all backgrounds to learn about the rich Cambodian culture while running an organization whose vision is to provide opportunities for individuals to become economically self-sufficient and to be active and engaged leaders in their communities.


Season 4 is sponsored by Red Scarf Revolution (RSR).  RSR aims to bring awareness to the tragedies, atrocities and cultural destruction the Cambodian people endured from 1975 to 1979 under the communist Khmer Rouge regime and how that period impacts us today.  With that awareness, Red Scarf Revolution advocates the silenced art, music, culture,  and language, with designs that incite the resiliency of the Cambodian people.  Visit their website at  www.redscarfrevolution.com to check out their merch line and to learn more about their work, or follow their Instagram at red_scarf_revolution or on their Facebook.

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