Sieng Ry – SLC Cook, Property Guardian & Former House-mother at Srayang Dorm
“I have known Lori & Ponheary for such a long time. I first met them at Koh Ker village when I was a teacher there. At that time I was teaching the kids under the trees because there was no school. I drew in the sand to teach them what I remembered from when I was a kid. But I only finished Grade 3 because of the war, because that was the maximum possible. We studied under houses because all the schools were demolished. But I still wanted to share what I could remember with the village kids in Koh Ker. And after a while an organization came and helped to build the first classrooms at Koh Ker school. Still it was just me and one other teacher at that time. Then PLF came and the support got much bigger. They helped me to go to Siem Reap for teacher training.
Sieng Ry with Ponheary at Koh Ker school in 2007
In 2010 PLF opened the dormitory in Srayang because that was where the nearest secondary school was. They brought me here to look after the kids who were coming up from Koh Ker primary school. When the dorm opened, it was only a few girls and me. And it was like living in the jungle. There was no proper road like now, no neighbors and everywhere tall trees. Even the school was surrounded by jungle. Only a very small road that went to the school and the market.
Sieng Ry with the inaugural dorm intake in 2010; and in the first kitchen at Srayang
Yes – it felt very brave at that time to come here, just me and the girls. But it was the only way that they could come to secondary school. Because the girls’ parents, they didn’t trust anyone except me to look after them, and they only allowed them to come to school in Srayang because I was here too. If I didn’t come, they wouldn’t come. It was a big responsibility, but I was happy to do it. Sometimes I was angry with them if they didn’t listen and wanted to go back to the village. That was frustrating. But I was very happy for the kids who studied hard and took all the opportunities they were given.
It’s often very difficult – education here and for these students. But I see that it’s growing, and when the dorm turned into the learning center, there are more students coming through. I like all of my job. I like taking care of the students and helping them. I want them to be successful in their lives.”
Sieng Ry is a pioneer of our pathway in Preah Vihear. She is too humble to say it, but quite simply without her presence at Srayang, there would be no Learning Center there today!
You can meet more of our amazing team and read their stories on the People of PLF page!
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