The Making of ZIN

The original ZIN Team with community member famous spoken word artist, Kosal Khiev.  Back row: Kasper**, Buck, Bobby . Front row: Looney, Kosal and Khan.

The original ZIN Team with community member famous spoken word artist, Kosal Khiev.
Back row: Kasper**, Buck, Bobby . Front row: Looney, Kosal and Khan.


ZIN started in April 2018 with the goal of creating meaningful jobs for the deported refugee community. We started on the eve of the largest group of deportees - 43 - arriving in Cambodia from the US. Deportees reported they were shackled for the entire flight - approximately 36 hours. There are now 700+ deportees in Cambodia. We remember how hard it has been to integrate into Cambodia. And we wanted to help. So we are committed to use our skills and resources to create an incredible adventure tourism company for Cambodia and to provide meaningful jobs for our “DP” community.

ZIN has started creating jobs and along the way, ZIN has become a path of positive energy, reconnection, hope and healing. ZIN has become a way for our community to connect in new ways with each other and to reconnect with our motherland.

The ZIN team has been trained in entrepreneurism, group dynamics, storytelling and leadership and we have conducted extensive archival and oral history research on Cambodia’s history, especially the 1950s - 1980s. We have focused on the joyous and dark histories of Kirirom Mountain and two killing field sites - Wat Snguon Pich and Amphe Phnom.

Talking to elders in the local communities combined with review of written records has helped us understand our parents and our own histories - giving us a better understanding of the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian refugees who fled Cambodia, our diasporas and life in today’s Cambodia. We grew a new understanding of what “research” means in an oral culture and will share with you our discoveries about Kirirom.

We have trained with historians and ethnomusicologists who’ve shared Cambodia’s musical and war histories And we never thought we would be trained actors and storytellers with a very cool professor from a leading US college; our lives were so distant from college campuses in the US.

We also met with CEOs and travel and marketing professionals and wildlife organizations to better inform our services and to develop ZIN’s business strategy. Working with a leading design studio shaped our brand strategy. Meeting with family members of Cambodia’s musical icons, Sin Sisamuth’s grandchildren, furthered our understanding of the devastation caused by war and the role of joy and music in our motherland’s history.

ZIN has revealed to us strengths and skills we did not know we had. ZIN has been about many new experiences and finding peace in a pine forest on a mountain not far from our motherland’s capital city of Phnom Penh. ZIN’s reshaped us.

It’s been ZIN!

Please join us to learn more about the life and history that’s directly impacted the ZIN team. And see first-hand how ZIN provides meaningful tours and transformative job opportunities for our community.

** Oh, does anyone know Kasper? Come on the tour and meet him.