Two years ago, Kel Keun, who is now a SSI scholarship alumni, expressed how access to education changed his life:
“Growing up, my family was very poor. My parents never went to school, they are farmers who cannot earn a lot of money. My parents are getting older and older but they continue to feed pigs, grow bananas and raise cows to save money for me and my siblings to go to school. We faced many problems in our lives because we never had enough money. To help my parents, I spent some time away from school working and farming.
Even with these challenges, in 2010, I passed the 9th grade and received information about the SSI scholarship. Immediately, I told my parents about this program and they were very happy. They told me, “Hurry, apply for this program!”. After I had applied, I eagerly waited for two weeks before I learned the results. I passed and would have the opportunity to study for my BA in Phnom Penh. I was very happy! But before I left my village to study I worried about many things. Where would I live? Who could I live with? How could I get to school? Luckily, SSI provided almost everything I needed to be successful, such as a house, food, school fees, clean water, electricity, access to a computer and much more.
Nowadays, I live at the Leadership Academy with other students and we are very happy for the opportunity to study and live in a safe place. We are kind to each other, share everything and help each other when someone has a problem. The SSI staff take very good care of us, especially the English teacher. The English teacher is developing Skype classes so we can speak with native English speakers to improve our English skills. SSI staff also help us develop interview and resume skills so we can find a job after graduation. Finally, SSI is the best NGO in Cambodia that I know! I promise I will study hard to help SSI, and go back to develop my community by teaching, encouraging students to study and help them understand the advantage of gaining knowledge.
I’ve had the best opportunity of my life to study in university. Without SSI, there is a good chance that I would not have been able to continue my education past the 9th grade. I thank SSI for everything they have done to help me and I will be back to help my village when I graduate.” -Kel Keun
Keun graduated in 2015 and continues improving education in Cambodia. In our next blog, we will give you an update of Keun’s life and talk more about how he is making his dreams became a reality.
"What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it." ~C.S. Lewis
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