Seyla’ Biography and Empowerment

13

Written by Seyla, Vocational Training Manager

I was born in 1988 with a poor family in Siem Reap. I am the fourth child among eight brothers and sisters in the family. I started school when I was 8 years old in 1996. My studying was not going well because of my family was very poor and my father was an alcoholic person. He was usually drink alcohol and argued with my family, especially my mother. We did not have any land or a good house to live in; we rent the land from our neighbor and build a small house from the palm leaf to live. The poverty was really effect to us, and it was very difficult for my mother to take responsible by herself for supporting the whole family. She was work so hard, she worked for many things that she can. Most of my brothers, sisters and I didn’t graduate high school, and some are not even finish primary school.

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When I was around ten to fifteen, my two older brothers and a sister had stop studying since grade two or three in primary school, and they had worked as builders or do the farm to earned money for supporting my family. Even though, the member in my family had increased in earning money, but we still not earned much money for supporting the whole family, and supporting my three younger brothers and I with studying. My brothers and I was usually by went for fishing, finding the vegetable from the farms and doing the house work to help my family. Moreover, we were really needed to buy the own land to live, it was also the big responsible that we needed to think and save some money for it.

When I was 16 years old, while I had been studying in grade 8 I decided to ask my mother to stopped studying. I had worked as a builder with all of my older brothers. I worked as a builder for over three years. My younger brother also stopped studying, and we were all work together. Working as builder was very difficult, we did not earn well and sometimes the builder owner did not pay us but this was the work that we could do, we have no choice as we were poor and had no knowledge and skill. My mother decided to buy a land (We have been living until now) but we did not have enough money, my mother had borrowed some more money from someone else to buy it. She was a vegetable seller at market. We were very happy that we have the own land to live in, even though we still need to earned to repaid back.

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When I was 19 years old, when my family situation was getting better I decided to learn how to dance (Traditional Khmer dance). Around six months later, I had chosen to be a dancer in restaurant. I danced only in the evening so I still have the day times to help my family. I had danced there for over seven years. Besides, when I was 20 years old, I decided to learn the sewing skill because I thought that it will be a sustainable skill that is good for my future. At first, it was embarrassing me as many people said that this skill is just for the girls, but this was not change my thought and my will. I had saved the money from my dancing for learning this skill but luckily I had known that an organization provided it for free. So, I joined there for free, after I graduated the course for four months I used the money that I had saved to buy a sewing machine. I practiced the lessons which I had learned and I also made some clothes for my villager.

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When I was 21 years old, I had work as a tailor for a garment shop in town, I could not earn very well but this job was very good to me, it made me have much more confidents and more experience. I had worked there for nearly a year. When I was 22 years old I had work for an organization as a part time sewing teacher and dancing teacher. This works was very good for me even though I could not earned well from it but I had more time to do others things, such as helping my family, making clothes for my villager. Moreover, I started studying English, and computer.

When I was 25 years old, I had applied for a part time sewing teacher. At first, I did not think that I will get this job as I am a man but actually Human and Hope Association had accepted me. In June 2015 I have promoted to be a vocational training manager.

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Working for HHA is very important for me because it make my life have changed a lot. I get lot of experiences from my job. Besides, I also get a scholarship to study English in a Centre call, Australian center for education. I have been studying there. I am really happy to be a part of Human and Hope Association staff to work to help our villager to have a sustainable skill for their life. I am really proud of the vision and mission of Human and Hope Association.

Finally, I would like to say thank you very much for Human and Hope Association and also all sponsors and supporters for everything you have done to empowerment myself and Cambodians, and giving me a big chance to sharing and empowering to the other villagers.