Last week I was walking to the office when I stopped to say hello to a student. She was sitting with a friend, and they were talking to Teacher Samen. The students friend said to me in clear English, “Excuse me, can you help me?”. I was taken aback, as most of the youth around here don’t have the confidence to speak English to a stranger. “Sure,” I responded. “How can I help you?”. The girl replied, “I want to study English with my friend”. For a few minutes we spoke, and we agreed for her to come back on Friday to sit a placement test. “However,” I told her, “I think your English is so good that you will be studying a much higher level than your friend.”
On Friday, as requested, the girl came back. She took a written placement test, which blew me away. Just seventeen years old, this girl had not studied English for two years. She lives in a village about three kilometers away from Human and Hope Association, where very few of our students come from as the trek to get here can prove too exhausting and tedious, especially in rainy season. Despite the long journey to school each day, she studies in Grade 10 and is committed to her studies.
The reason I am sharing the passage she wrote below is because I want people to understand how resilient Cambodians can be. A lot of our staff and students experience great hardships, however they rarely complain. They do what they can to take control of their future, and our organization assists them with knowledge and empowerment.
This morning we phoned the students father to ask his permission to share this passage. Whilst on the phone, he told Teacher Thai that although he and his wife, who are farmers, have their financial challenges; he has sent all nine of his children to school. I am happy to say that there have definitely been more parents in our community taking an interest in their children’s education. We have a long way to go, but these are good beginnings.
We also obtained the permission of the student who wrote this passage to share it, and have not included her name, in accordance with our Child Protection Policy – Sally Hetherington, Operations Manager.
“I have three brothers and five sisters. I’m study grade 10 at “10 January High School 1979” farway is 7 or 8 kilometer from my house to school. I’m very difficult go to school and study at school and learning part time because I don’t have enough money and have lots of member in my family. I hope one day my dream will come true and I find money to feed my family and help my family. I want to become a good teacher. So, I should study hard and study more. To become a good teacher, I want to make my students easy to learn with me and easy to do it when I give exercise to them and they can do it. I always, I can help my family more. Because my family are very difficult and I want my member have a good job and have a good family. When I become a good teacher I want to help my country and develop my country to a modern country. I hope when 2015 Cambodia enter or communication in Asia. I hope in my country have a lots of the people that have a lots of ideas that can help there country to modern country and help alots of people that they don’t know or they never learn go to school and study until university and have a good job all of people and them can help their family.”