By Jacqui Rawson

Yim Mao is an inspiring example of someone who continues to keep pushing themselves onwards regardless of misfortunes and ongoing struggles faced.  Yim Mao’s focus is not on his disability but on being as successful as he can be.

When he was 7 years old Yim Mao was attacked and beaten severely by some local youths.  The worst of the damage was to his spine.  There was a financial inability for Mao’s family to seek the required medical attention for him at the time of the incident and then over the next few years, Mao’s parents both passed away.  Mao was cared for by his five brothers who got him the best medical attention they could but over time his condition deteriorated.

Eventually Mao came into hospital in Siem Reap where western doctors ensured he got free treatment and ongoing support in the form of accommodation and medication.  Mao wanted to return to his studies as soon as he was able to and so PLF have been supporting him with school supplies and other necessities to ensure his education since finding out about him from a school contact.

Recently, at the age of 25, Yim Mao has had to make the very hard decision to give up his dream of obtaining a University qualification and instead to turn vocational training:

“I understand that for me as a disabled person even though I graduate to go to university, there are not many work places that will receive disabled people to work for them.  I realize that learning to do repairs of electronics will help me to achieve a good future as well.”

PLF have supported and assisted Yim Mao with his decision to take up vocational training in electronics.  As Yim Mao’s condition deteriorates over time, riding a bicycle becomes more of a burden than an assistance to him so PLF are sponsoring him with a 50cc motorbike to get to his work.  PLF have also housed him in the PLF supported boys dormitory, where he gets food, security and support of fellow PLF boys.

 PLF Boy’s Dormitory

He has been training/working for the last three months at Arn Ly Huor Electronic Repairs.  He has been so excited with his new skills that he has been coming into the Urban Computer lab to keep Sotheara, the IT Manager updated on his new skills.

“Today I’ve fixed 3 CPU, 2 VGA cables …. I’ve helped lots of customers.  Do you have any broken things you would like me to fix, cables, monitors, CPU’s?”

Sotheara decided to make use of Yim Mao’s enthusiasm and test his new skills with a broken computer monitor.  He took the monitor back home to the PLF dormitory that night and had it back fully functional by the next morning!

Sotheara is excited for her student,

“I feel excited about his attempts, learning how to fix electronic equipment. Great of his achievement!!!!! He is miracle; the students that start learning about the same time can’t do like him”.

As well as undertaking this new training Yim Mao has been busy writing a blog for PLF and under Sothera’s tutelage has also learnt how to install Windows 7, 8 and other application such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw and other software.