Salin’s Biography and Empowerment

salins-speech-1Written by Salin, Education and Community Manager

I was born at Posat Province, Cambodia. When I was around one year old, my family moved to live at Siem Reap where my father’s hometown is. My life in Siem Reap was awful because I lived in the rural area and my family was very poor. We lived in an old cottage. My family raised cows so I had to looking cows and working at the field. That time we lived from hand to mouth.

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At the age of 6 I started school. The education system there was not good as they didn’t have enough teachers and the building was very old. I studied in an old building, the roof made of old zinc and the wall made of coconut and palm leaves. When raining students had to move out. What I have never forgotten in that school is my teacher having a big wooden ruler and he hit my head once because I was naughty then my head swollen. I could not go to school for a few days then my father and I went to argue with the teacher.

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Fortunately, when I was 8 my parents decided to send me to live with my grandparents so that I could attend school regularly. My grandparents were poor so I rarely got money to study. My father came to get me back to Siem Reap when I finished grade one. I was so surprised that my family moved to live in town as my father couldn’t find a good job at his hometown. We moved to the town with just a little bit money. My father started working as a construction builder and my mother started working as a cleaner and we lived in an old small house. By their supports, I could continue my study. I worked so hard on my study until I could become one of the top students in my class. I did so because at the end of the school year I could get the reward (school supplies) from the school so that my parents don’t have to buy for me.

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When I reached 16, I started working as a construction builder with my father on my vocation. From that time, I worked as a builder when I had free time. When I was in grade 10 I volunteered at Human and Hope Association to teach English for one hour to the poor children near my village. Then in grade 11, I worked part time for HHA as an English and microfinance assistant. In grade 12 I had to spend more money for my study and my father was sick that caused my family to face financial problem. It forced me to find extra work at night as a security guard with my boss that I used to work as a builder for. When I finished grade 12 I started working full time for HHA and it provided me a scholarship to pursue my college education, which is a great opportunity for me to improve my life.

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After working full time for 6 month, I was promoted as an education and community coordinator. I committed myself to work hard for HHA to achieve as many as I can. Now I have been working for HHA for five years and becoming an education and community manager. I have committed to work for HHA because I love the vision, mission, and values of HHA and want to take part in achieving all those valuable things.

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Through working at HHA, I am able to improve myself a lot – working experience, knowledge, relationship, and confidence via the empowerment from the management team, especially from my director, San Thai, and the Australian board president, Sally. They have supported me through my daily work implementation, providing internal and external workshops and training, and their trust in my ability to run the projects.

Lastly, I would like to express my profound thanks to them and pray for them to achieve whatever they want to achieve in their lives.