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Meet Sara Im, Speaker, and Author of How I Survived the Killing Fields

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Im.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?

I grew up in a village in Cambodia, surrounded by nature. Cambodia is a beautiful tropical country. We have all kinds of animals, exotic plants, flowers, and fruits. I enjoyed all kinds of exotic tropical fruits. After I graduated from high school, I had an opportunity to attend a college located far away from home, in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

My life was peaceful and happy until that fateful day. In 1975, the Communist Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. In 4 years, 2 million people died of homicide, diseases & starvation. That’s ¼ of the Cambodian population. That’s the Killing Fields of Cambodia. As one of the survivors, I am here to tell my story.

I was in captivity for 4 horrible years. I was put to work in harsh working conditions in the rice fields under an intense hot sun. I lived with little food and little sleep which made me very sick. Within a couple of months, I contracted several diseases. When I got too sick to work, they sent me to a death camp, waiting to die.

I prayed every day for God to help me and he heard my prayers. I was sent to the kitchen to work under better conditions. I gradually recovered from those diseases. When they saw me look better, they pulled me out of the kitchen and sent me back to work in the harsh conditions in the rice fields again.

After 4 years, God gave me the courage to not want to die at the hands of these criminals. So, I gathered 3 of my most trusted friends to attempt a dangerous escape and we made it out. It took months of tracking and walking, but I was finally reunited with my family.
Only after a few months of reuniting with my family, did I face another need to flee my country.

I am grateful that I was able to finally come to the United States and build a wonderful life. Several years later, my family, was able to come to join me. Six years ago, I was able to publish my book titled “How I Survived the Killing Fields, a Story of Hope, Love, and Determination” with the intention to share the message of hope, love, and inspiration. You can find a few more details on my story at: https://flvec.com/sara-im.

Currently, I feel it is the right time for me to turn my pain into purpose.

I am focussing on sharing my message to help people recover mentally and emotionally from hardship, especially during the present pandemic. I share that you can overcome any adversity by maintaining a good relationship with people you love, strengthening your faith, keeping an optimistic perspective to create positive thoughts, and never giving up hope.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?

It hasn’t been a smooth road. I know it won’t be a smooth road. Some examples of my struggles are related to the life challenges of my loved ones.

A few years after I arrived in the USA, I needed to bring my family here to safety, however, I faced challenging immigration issues. Finally, after five years, my mom and three brothers, sister-in-law and their two children arrived safely, legally. When my mom became sick, I became her caregiver for 13 years.

I took my responsibility seriously as the firstborn in the family. Another rough time for my husband and me was during the time of the real estate collapse in 2008, we experienced a huge financial loss. Recently, in the last two years, as I was focused on building my professional speaking business, the pandemic happened, and the whole speaking industry shut down.

I am optimistic that the worst is over and I look forward to a better future.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?

After 13 years of caring for my beloved mother, after she passed away, I regrouped to start building a wellness business. My intention was to advocate for personal self-care.

I organized health fairs, wellness conferences, seminars, etc. with the purpose to educate the public on alternative wellness and self-care. My events also supported other alternative wellness practitioners, naturalists, holistic practitioners, etc. I also provided recommendations to people who seek wellness products.

In May 2015, I published my book “How I Survived the Killing Fields”. My story drew a lot of attention from our local readers. I then got invited to speak at many places. I realizedthat my speech can help a lot of people. Then, I decided to shift my focus from building my wellness business to building my professional speaking business.

I am known as a survivor of the Killing Fields who turned my pain to be my purpose to help people recover from their own pain, struggles, and fear. I speak about the road to resiliency; how to develop your personal leadership; find hope in the midst of adversity; find peace in a senseless tragedy and more. I design my speech to meet the needs of each event.

What sets me apart from other speakers and authors is: I share effective strategies evolving from my own personal experiences, which almost destroyed my life. I am humbled to say that God has helped me to survive so that I can tell others that they too can make it through their own tragedy. I want to give them hope by not giving up.

Brand-wise, I am known as a courageous Survivor of the Killing Fields who wants to help others to overcome their struggles. My message is about hope, love, faith, resilience, and courage. I offer my speaking services for corporations, and faith-based organizations, for their events, conferences, retreats, workshops, and more.

I am also available to meet with any book club members who are interested in learning and having discussions about my book. My newest service is life mentoring/coaching. I offer a complementary 30 minutes discovery session to see if it will be a good fit.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?

Now, I help people just like you, overcome their adversities through my book, speaking engagements, podcasts, and coaching. Schedule a Free Zoom Session with me where we can discover opportunities to work together.  (To schedule,  please click on saraim.com/discovery )

If you are part of the human resources department or working in a corporation or small/medium business, I would love to speak at your next corporate events.

If you are an event planner of any association, a business owner, or a meeting planner, invite me to speak to inspire your audience. If you are a member of a book club, consider recommending my book for their next discussion.

Since I have experience in organizing events, I would like to collaborate with you to produce your next powerful events. You can support me by referring me to any TV program, radio, or podcast program.

I am also looking for businesses that have a passion to encourage women who are victims of domestic violence. I want to reach out to help them rebuild their life.

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Image Credits
Kate Bennett Photography and Pierce Brunson

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