By Jacqui Rawson

As our students become more and more successful staying in school, PLF is busy laying a more solid foundation for supporting our older students as they migrate out of high school and into tertiary education and the workplace.

We’re excited to be bringing Graham Smith into the PLF team to help us build that program.

Graham full face

Graham’s presence in the office has added a wonderful new spoke to the diversity wheel, not only do we speak Khmer in the office (some better than others) we also now speak three versions of the English language; American, New Zealand and Scottish!  There’s translations’ going all ways!

PLF are obviously very excited to welcome Graham for much more than his wonderful accent and vocabulary.  Graham brings with him a 1st class Masters Degree in Chemistry and Project Management experience.  He also comes with a love of Cambodia developed through numerous visits here over the last couple of years.

Graham first traveled to Cambodia as an English teaching volunteer where he taught in a rural school for several months.  After that initial visit he has been drawn back to Cambodia multiple times and has now decided to move permanently here to Siem Reap to work with the PLF team.

He’s taken on the management of our hugely important Secondary School Program. A major part of that role is interaction with the student’s, their parents, teachers and school principals and the fact that Graham has a very good grasp of the Khmer language and continues to study to become fluent is a crucial asset. Graham can also read and write Khmer to some extent, something most of us are not brave enough to even attempt.

He also works closely with Sokha, covering the social work support that PLF provides for our secondary school students.  Together they work closely keeping an eye on the students as individuals and stepping in when assistance is required in many aspects of their daily life’s to ensure continuation of their education.

Another part of Graham’s role is providing assistance with the first steps past secondary school, including guidance and encouragement on what those steps may be; onwards to University, setting up a business or undergoing further learning in the form of vocational training.