Sok Ry, a MAP Cambodia student since 2012
Located in the small village of Prek Lvea, one hour distance from Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, finding good teachers for MAP’s Cambodia school comes along with many challenges. Teachers who commute from Phnom Penh have quite a journey, in which they must take the ferry that crosses the Mekong river and drive half an hour through the dusty countryside twice per day. The daily trek to the school is tiring for the teachers, so MAP Cambodia stopped hiring educators that live in Phnom Penh. Apart from this, the appeal of Phnom Penh’s job market compared to the countryside is much higher because the latter is the state of the art in terms of career and high salaries.
After some months of unsuccessfully looking for a new English primary level teacher, a moment of hope bloomed for the MAP Cambodia school. One day, Sok Re approached the school manager, Buntheoun, questioning why she was never offered an interview for the English teacher opening, especially after working as an assistant English teacher during months at the school. Buntheoun, surprised by the audacious approach, responded that it was likely because she was still a student and not a qualified teacher but promised her that he would bring it up in the upcoming MAP Cambodia Manager Meeting.
Previously, when the school could not find skilled teachers in the Cambodian province, MAP Cambodia included alumni in the teaching curriculum process, which had its challenges. Young teachers lack experience, but in reality, they will never strengthen their on-site classroom skills and training if denied such opportunities; reliability also became an issue in some cases. Thankfully, Sok Ry had proven her commitment and reliability as an assistant English Teacher, so MAP Cambodia decided to take a chance on her.
To shine a light on her story, Sokry was one of the kids taken in by MAP Cambodia into HOPE Children’s Home in 2012.
She had grown up in a very remote village in Battambang Province, Cambodia’s neighboring province with Thailand, mostly staying with her grandmother. At times, to remedy the family’s financial instability, her parents took up migrant work in Thailand. Unfortunately, things quickly went south for her parents in Thailand: Sokry’s mother was imprisoned for illegal immigration, and her father went missing for some years. It was during this difficult situation that Story’s grandmother had to find a new place for Sokry and her younger brother, Eten. Once Sokry’s parents managed to get back to Cambodia, MAP helped find jobs for both parents in Prek Lvea, ensuring that Sokry and Eten could remain united with the rest of their family.
Today, Sokry is a 12th grader at a high school in Kandal province, located not far from the house where she stays with her family. In addition to her studies, Sokry is involved in music, English, and computer programs, all run and supported by MAP Cambodia. Sokry shares her taste in the art of music, especially singing. Recently, she released a song called “My Life”, composed by her and co-produced by a team of the MAP Cambodia Media Academy. By good fortune, she is fascinated with the education field, where she enjoys teaching and working with children of similar backgrounds and stories as her. In this full circle journey, she now teaches an introductory English class to young children from the community. After her high school graduation, she plans to study to become an English teacher at university.