Empowering Young Women in Rural Cambodia

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Empowering Young Women in Rural Cambodia

By Timon Seibel
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The story of Theary Chhin – From volunteering to employment

Theary Chhin was born in 2002 in the village of Toul Meas in the Lavea Em district, a neighboring region of Phnom Penh city, Cambodia. She comes from a low-income, problematic family. Her father is a construction worker in the village but is also an alcoholic. Her parents don’t get along well and have separated. Her three siblings – two younger sisters and a younger brother – have dropped out of school, because of the lack of financial support and their parents’ absence from their lives. Only Theary has been able to concentrate on her studies and has made it to high school.

As a high school student, Theary always looks for any opportunity to learn something useful in preparing her for university once she gains her high school diploma. One day, she approached Mr. Bunthoeun, MAPC school manager, who also works as an English teacher there. She asked him if she could take free computer and English classes, which Mr. Bunthoeun agreed to – in exchange for some voluntary work. With her deep passion and understanding for working with underprivileged children, Theary became a very friendly and helpful teacher of the Khmer language.

During the past two years of volunteering for MAPC, Theary was offered a job as an office assistant and assistant teacher. Since then, her life has gone through an enormous improvement in terms of her own and her family’s wellbeing. Now she can afford to pay for her school things and to buy her family good food and new clothes. As well as the impact on her own family, she feels very fortunate to be able to work for MAPC and help other underprivileged children make a difference for their own families and their own community.

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