Theara (15 years old)
Hello, my name is Theara. I was born in Phnom Penh in Steung Meangchey. I don’t know my father, I’ve never seen him in my life. My mother took care of me. But then my mother died. I have one more brother. His name is Hing. He has another father, but we don’t know him neither.
When my mother died, the older sister of my mother took care of us. My aunt lives with her husband and her seven children in Steung Meangchey just next to the old dumpsite. Her house is very small and the family is very poor. We all had to help picking waste to have money for food and clothes. Someday the husband of my aunt could work for the French NGO PSE. But still then we had to go on picking waste. My aunt loves us like her own children but where my aunt lives there live a lot of waste pickers with their families.
And when they don’t work they drink rice wine and often I saw and heard fighting, crying and how men beat her women and children. Also the two oldest sons of my aunt are drunk very often and when they are drunk I am scared of them. Sometimes they beat me and I don’t know why.
Their father is very angry and stopped speaking with them because they stopped going to school and drink alcohol everyday.
I love my aunt but I could do what ever I wanted. My aunt didn’t know that I stopped going to school and that hung around instead with the other kids from my neighborhood. In the afternoon till nighttime we used to pick waste. I don’t care about picking waste but it is very hot under the sun and I had to walk a lot.
I am strong and the other kids listened to me. Sometimes I fought even with older kids and often I was stronger than them. Many of my friends drank alcohol or sniffled glue but I never did that because my aunt said that this is bad and dangerous.
Then I got to Know Somphors and Timon from MAP and I could move into the HOPE ChildrensHome. My aunt said that I should move into HOPE together with Hing and my cousin Sry Leak because there they could take care of me better than she can because she has so many own kids and is busy the whole day earning money for food.
My life at HOPE is very different to my live before. Now I cannot do anymore what I want and I have to study a lot. When I came to HOPE I had to study in the 3rd grade at public school and with my 13 years I was the oldest in my class. But then I could already jump into the 5th grade because at HOPE we have extra classes during the afternoon. I like the activities at HOPE. We play a lot of soccer and we have computer teaching and painting and singing and very good food.
At HOPE I can practice a lot dancing with my friends. I like Korean Hip Hop.
And I really like that Somphors and Timon ask me many times what I want to do in my life and then they explain what I have to do that I can reach what I want for my life. Somphors and Timon really try to help me a lot.
But often I get very angry and aggressive. And I don’t know the reason why I get so angry. Timon says that we have to find out the reason of my anger. He also says that it would be good for me if I could play music in a band. Timon says that then I would be less aggressive. I believe Timon and I am thankful that they think so much about me.
“I really want to get to know my father.
My aunt told me that he’s still alive. In the future I want to become a professional Hip Hop dancer and a designer of clothes.”