When Vannak was young her father told her, “I know that you really wanted to go back to school, but we are far, so we can not. Maybe in the next life you will be born in the town.”
In the 2017-2017 school year we have begun a new program focusing on Mentorship. Our first goal is for PLF University students to meet younger PLF students and share their stories about how they beat the odds and persevered onwards to University. Here is one of those stories we couldn’t help but share, as told by PLF University student Vannak to students studying at the Khnar Village Learning Center:
“I dropped out of school when I was in Grade 7 because the Secondary School was too far and the road also very bad. My classmate and I just go to help our family in the rice field. When I was working in the field, I was thinking about school. From this thought, I called children in my village came to my house and I taught them English (English For Children), I found $30 from a foreigner who visited my village (he wanted me to keep doing this job) and I used that money to spend for studying english in Pouk district. One day I was sitting in English class, and the teacher asked me “Vannak what grade are you in ?” I said “No, I am not in school”. So the teacher said, “Why do you study English if you are not in school?” I was so sad from those questions. From there it made me think more about school as I am a girl who is thinking about school so much. With $30 I can spend only on english class for 1 month and gas because school is too far.
“In summer of late 2009 I told myself that I need to go back to school even if good or bad situation. I tried hard to find a school near Siem Reap but I didn’t have the place to stay. I asked principals from three different schools around that area if I could study at their school, but they didn’t accept me to join in Grade 9 unless I pay $100 because I dropped out for a long time. My family could not support me back to school, so what could I do? My father said to me jokingly, “ I know that you really wanted to go back to school, but we are far, so we can not, maybe in the life you will be born in the town, so it easy for you to attend in school.” I said nothing back to him.
“After that I started talking to my family everyday. I know they all became sick of me, because my father told me that he can not support me financially, his answer is no. But luckily he thought about his brother who live in KomPong Thom province, and he pushed me to study there. My uncle helped me find enough money to enroll and my goal was to go there and finish Grade 9 only and not High School. Siem Reap City is my main goal, there are plenty of foreign language classes there. I started to study in Grade 9 from 2010-2011 and then I came to ask my mom,” Could you help me with moving school to Siem Reap ? ” she had no answer and her face told me million things. In summer after finish Grade 10 I came back to Siem Reap and worked as a service in Indian resturant that I can earn $70 per month. I didn’t forget school. But I am helping myself to transfer my name from Kompong Thom to Siem Reap.
“I started in Grade 11 in Angkor High school. I stayed with my friend who worked with me in the past. A few months later, she needed to get married, so I had to find a new place to stay. I started to ask my classmates one by one. One of my friends was living in a 3×4 meters garden house of her uncle. She accepted me to live with her. Yes! So now I am okay with new place to live, but the other problem is food. I knew one of my classmates was a PLF student. He recommended me to come to ask PLF for help. I went there to meet the team and one staff came to do a home visit.
“The Sun is rising, the flower were blooming. I got a scholarship from PLF and they supported me with food too! For the first time in my life, I have the chance to just focus in school. I finished high school in 2014. And I got a university scholarship to study my dream, English Literature. I am the only one in my family and my village who graduated High School, and now my goal is to be the first to graduate from University.
“The message I want to share to the young generation who have struggled in life and in school like me or more difficult more than me is: Please don’t give up. The bright future is waiting for you all!”
Read more about PLF University student stories!
Read more Sothy, and “What Education Means to Me”
Or, learn more about our University & Vocational Training Scholarships Program!