A huge congratulations goes to our Education & Community Manager, Salin Loeum, on winning a 2019 Diana Award for his tireless work to educate Cambodian children so they can break the cycle of poverty.
Salin volunteered at Human and Hope Association for two years before earning a minimal salary. His dedication and selflessness since co-founding the organisation in 2011 is truly an inspiration for a man who has grown up in poverty. For eight years, Salin has been at the forefront of the development of his community, contributing to the education of over 500 disadvantaged children.
Salin grew up in poverty in Pursat, in rural Cambodia. His family struggled to survive day-to-day in a country that was slowly recovering from the aftermath of a mass genocide that had killed 2 million people (a quarter of the population). Despite his family’s financial struggles, his father enrolled him at school at age six, where he studied in an old building made of palm leaves. He was the subject of corporal punishment, which made him determined to become a teacher when he was older who would treat his students with patience and respect.
Moving to Siem Reap when he was eight, Salin always came top of his class, as he wanted to receive the free study supplies that came with this recognition, enabling him to stay in school and alleviating the financial burden from his parents who had sunk further into debt.
This determination led to him graduating from high school in 2014, a year when only 27.5% of year 12 students nation-wide passed. Salin then began studying at university on a scholarship through Human and Hope Association’s program, choosing to study a Bachelor of English Literature so he could become the best teacher possible, and afford children in his community the quality education he didn’t receive.
We are so fortunate to have Salin on our team, and are thrilled that he has been recognised as an outstanding young person who is selflessly creating and sustaining positive social change in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.