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How this Cambodian man is empowering children through education

My name is Phyrom. I was born in 1990 in a rural area, approximately 20kms from Siem Reap town. My parents are farmers, growing rice and my father has a second job as a Tuk Tuk driver, but even though he could not earn much money as there are many Tuk Tuk drivers and his income is not regular. They have to work so hard to feed five children.

I have three sisters and one brother and I am the third child. I started school in 1996. When I was young, I caught the fishes and raise the cattle and helped my parents on the farm. In the rainy season, I often went to the field alone or sometimes with my older sisters which was far away from home to collect grasses to feed my cows and buffalos.

As for my dad, he went to work far away from home to earn money to support our study and he sometimes he had to stay there for a week or two weeks. That time, I never care about my hygiene, so when I was 14, I have had a problem with my right ear. Because of that, I was absent a lot from class which led my study so weak.

I had never studied English until I was in grade 7 and in my class, they started teaching English, but I had no basic which made me so hard to understand it. I asked my parents to stop because my study was so weak and also I wanted to help them to earn money to support my two sisters to complete high school, but they didn’t let me to stop.

They encouraged me and gave me some advice. “Even our family is poor, but you must study until you complete high school because we don’t want you the same uneducated person like us today. Only education that makes your life brightly.” – My parents said.

Then I kept studying and helped their work in my free time. When I was in grade 10, I studied extra class of English with the monk in the monastery. By studying and working at the same time, my English study was not good. In 2010, I completed high school and I asked my parents to find in job Siem Reap. They agreed.

So I left my home to live in the town which I had to rely on myself. My first job was a cleaner at a guesthouse. For about three months, when I saved some money, I wished to continue my study at university because I dream to be a lawyer to help the poor people like my family.

So I started to study in university in Law faculty. In order to support my study, I had to work a part time job at night as a seller. Then I had changed a lot work. I used to work as a waiter, receptionist, Tuk Tuk driver, quad bike driver and a postman.

But I didn’t like those jobs so much as it isn’t relevant to my goal of being a lawyer, I just worked in order to earn the money to support my study in university. Until 2014, I graduated my Bachelor degree of law. I was so happy, but I still cannot find any job related to my goal.

During I was working as a postman I saw an advertisement of Human and Hope Association on the internet recruiting a librarian and Education Assistant. I was so interested because I thought that working at the NGO I can develop myself and also help poor children and their families the same as me.

When I work at Human and Hope Association, I feel really happy because I can share my knowledge to children and also I can develop my English through their scholarship program to send me to study at an English school. I also have learned a lot from my team through workshops, my jobs and other external training. Moreover, I like working at Human and Hope Association because I can earn money and I can join to help my community, especially to help the children who come from the poor families to gain education.

To provide support to students in Phyrom’s class, become a Language Champion for just $10 a month by clicking here.