Raksmey's Determination to Overcome Poverty and Social Norms

Raksmey's Determination to Overcome Poverty and Social Norms

By
Tavia Mirassou-Wolf
Staff US

Raksmey is a third year student at the University of Cambodia, and is majoring in Business Management. She is the first in her family to attend university; escaping the money-induced hardships faced by the staggering majority of families in her home village. When recalling her childhood, her parents would often stress about whether or not they had enough money for food, medicine, and education expenses for both Raksmey and her younger sister. 

Through their struggles, however, they have continuously encouraged their children to remain in school, as it would eventually prove to be their future wealth. Raksmey remembers her parents’ proverb: “Only knowledge can bring you everything and develop your country.” In high school, it was these words, along with watching upperclassmen receive scholarships and aid through Sustainable Schools International that kept Raksmey motivated to continue studying hard. “I was inspired to study harder in order to apply for an SSI scholarship and chase my dream to go to university, which is too expensive for my family to afford.”

Raksmey's determination and focus has earned her an Outstanding Student Certificate two years in a row from her university, along with a 3.8 GPA. In discussing her village, Raksmey determined that it is a lack of education that causes such grim circumstances in rural Cambodia and hopes to alter the community’s mindset by showing them the true value of education. Raksmey’s dream is to establish a healthier and more profitable market in her village, so that residents will be less likely to migrate and more likely to continue their children’s education. She wants to promote local produce by starting “a restaurant which serves both local and international customers.” Raksmey also has a heart for breaking traditional gender norms; showing exactly what women are capable of if the work is put in. “I want to prove that traditional women’s roles can be broken. I want to show that women aren’t just made to get married and take care of children.”

We are confident in what Raksmey has accomplished so far, and are excited to see how she will continue to impact her peers, young girls who look up to her, and the residents of her village. We stand behind Raksmey and her many dreams, and are proud to be a part of her amazing journey.

"What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it." ~C.S. Lewis

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