What would you do if your parents asked you to drop out of school to help earn money to support your family?
This is the choice faced by so many children who come from impoverished backgrounds in Cambodia – and it is why we believe it is so important to help provide scholarships to students who would otherwise have to make this choice.
Below are snapshots into the lives of four of our scholarship recipients.
Receiving a secondary school scholarship allowed Cheun Hean to stay in school and devote her time to her studies. She was able to not only graduate in 2016 but also continue to university to study accounting on another scholarship we provide. Thanks to our generous supporters, Cheun now has a much different and much brighter future ahead of her.
Another scholarship recipient, Seung Daleen, lives with her older sister because their parents aren’t able to take care of them. Before she received the scholarship, Daleen worked after school in a tailor shop to earn some extra income, but this was never enough to allow her to really focus on her studies.
Receiving our scholarship changed that. Now she is able to truly dedicate herself to her education, and is even able to take additional classes to build her English language skills. In our first year of supporting her studies her class ranking increased from 18th to 6th out of 35 students. Her favorite subject is Khmer language and she hopes to someday become a cook in a restaurant or hotel.
Like all the students we support, Hun Sopeaktra is a hard worker with a grueling daily schedule (as seen below). Sopeaktra passed her final exam for grade 9 with a rank of 5th out of 41 students and is now in high school studying in grade 10. Her favourite subject is physics and her least favourite subject is history.
- Sopeaktra typically wakes up around 04.00 am and helps her mother grind rice into flour for sweetmeats to sell in the village.
- At 05.30 am, she rides her bicycle to school and arrives shortly before 6:00 AM, when she has a Physics class with a tutor until 7:00 AM.
- From 07.00-12.00 am, she attends school until lunchtime, when she returns home to eat.
- After lunch she goes back to school at 13.00 PM for additional classes with tutors in multiple subjects:
13.00-14.00 pm – Chemistry
14.00-15.00 pm – Mathematics
15.00-16.00 pm – Khmer literature
16.00-17.00 pm – French language
After her last tutorial finishes at 17.00 pm she is done for day — until the routine begins again bright and early the next morning.
Another student, 13-year-old Reoun Kompeak, intends to study as hard as she can to become a nurse in order to help take care of her parents, her family members, and others in her community who struggle to afford healthcare.
“This scholarship helps me a lot because my family no longer has to worry about money for school fees for things like my uniform, stationery, shoes, bicycle, and especially extra classes after school. Our financial situation is getting better and I even get to keep some pocket money my parents give me for myself.”
As it stands, only 66% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, 45% in lower secondary and 25% in upper secondary, according to the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Gender Review 2018. Scholarships like these can provide that final boost across the gender gap for so many girls.