Story and photographs collected by Lonh ChamroeunCham comes from a family that didn’t know the value of formal education. Instead of attending school, they worked hard at their farming and did their best to survive. But Cham is determined that her family will be different.
When Cham’s mother passed away, she and her husband, Thea, became responsible for her three younger brothers, and their own toddler son. It wasn’t easy. “My husband and I had to work so hard to earn more money to raise my three younger brothers and support their studies,” she explains. My husband and I lived apart from each other since he had to go to work in Kampong Thom Province and comes back home only on special occasions and public holidays.”
As she worked to help provide for her family, Cham came to see how the low level of education in her community affected everyone. “From my own observation, I found the main root cause for their poverty was due to a lack of knowledge,” she shares.
Through working with FH Cambodia over the past five years, Cham has played an instrumental role in boosting the level of education in her community. She’s invested in building good relationships with other parents and teaching them how to make learning and play tools for their children to stimulate their development. She’s also shown caregivers how to set up home-based learning and encourages children to think about the future and set goals.
“I’ve learned a lot, particularly on teaching and caring for children,” Cham says. “Right now my husband and I send my son and three brothers to school regularly through saving money with a community-based savings group. I am proud of our family, that we are able to share some of my knowledge with neighbours.”
In addition, her family has learned how to raise fish and chickens for meat and income as well as plant vegetables to boost their daily nutrition and reduce their grocery bill.
“I believe our future hope is within our next generation who will finish their studies and have good jobs to support their families, and then develop our community to be more prosperous. To achieve that, I’m committed to promoting awareness for education more effectively and open to learning more new knowledge and skills related to education.”