Updated: Aug 19, 2020
The following story was written by Srey Da, a former ABCs and Rice student, about her life before and after attending ABCs. We're all incredibly proud of Srey Da and we hope you enjoy her story...
"In 2008, a little girl live in a poor family. She is scared. She is a afraid to do something. She lacks self-confidence. Therefore, she do not have many friends because she does not dare to talk to others. One day, when she went to school at Khmer School, she and her friend had an argument and her friend told her that she was crazy in English. Hearing this, she wondered and asked to her friend why she did not understand. At that time, a classmate of hers came in and said that she was very beautiful, today. A little girl asked if it was true or not; she was very angry with me, and her classmate answered, “Yes.”
Hearing this, a little girl looked surprised and one of her classmates came and said that they were crazy, but also stupid, and then they laughed.
She was so ashamed that she left. Later, she wanted to study English because she did not want to be looked down upon again. She wanted to learn English, but she did not dare ask her mother because she knew her mother has no money.
On a good day, she learned there is an organization school near her village call ABCs and Rice. Her friend asked her to go to school there and she also asked her friend if school took money. Her friend also said, “No,” because this is an organization school. That’s why she decided to ask her mother to go to school there, and her mother also agree to let her go to that school.
A little girl was very happy to go to school there.
On the first day, she was shy and did not dare to speak. But, when she studied for a month, she was changed a lot. She stopped being afraid of other. She is confident in doing something. She has self-confidence.
At ABCs and Rice, she changed from weak to brave and she also has many good friends there.
One day, her mother told her to stop learning Khmer because she had no money for her to stay—and she followed her mother.
ABCs and Rice school soon found out so ABCs and Rice school also supported her to continue studying Khmer. A little girl attended both Khmer and English school.
Several months later, her mother fell ill and no one cares for her mother. She was forced to stop studying Khmer again and take care of her mother. ABCs and Rice school also explained to her to return to Khmer School, but her father did not let her go back to school.
A few months later, the little girl’s family was in constant trouble. Her mother became more and more seriously ill, and her brother went to work in a distant land, so no one care for her mother and younger brother. Therefore, her father told her to stop study both Khmer and English to take care her family.
Hearing this, she was not happy, but she could oppose her father and she love her family so much, so she followed him. But, ABCs and Rice school tried to persuade her father to let her go back to school again and again. Sometime, when her mother was relieved, she went to English school, but sometimes she did not. After a while, her father stopped her from learning English.
One day, the teacher from ABCs and Rice, come to persuade her father to let her go to study again. Her father was drunk and use bad language against the teacher, but the teacher was not angry and returned to school. That hurt the little girl so much that she cried and did not talk to anyone for a day.
A few months later, her mother died. At that time, the little girl was very sad because she lost both her education and her mother.
A few months later more, her family became very poor and her father sent her to work in a water treatment plant. She also followed her father, but she never forgot her school and her studies. She still missed it.
One day, when she went to the market, she met her friends who were studying at ABCs and Rice school together. Her friends said, “You know what, now our school is open at night time too.” The little girl said, “Is it true or not?” Her friend said, “Yes.”
Her friend also asked her to go back to school. A little girl said, “I want to study at night because at night I have time to go to school.” But, I dare not go because I stopped studying a lot time ago and my father also said bad thing about the teacher. Her friend said, “It was okay; the teacher was not angry and all the teacher and friends miss you so much.” The little girl said, “Yes, I miss them too.”
Hearing this, her friend said, “Then go to school with me tomorrow.” A little girl said, “Ok, I will go.”
“See you tomorrow in front of the school and we will take you to meet our teacher and friends,” her friend said.
After talking, they parted way to their respective homes and a little girl was returns home happily. She walks and sings.
The next day, she went to see her friend in front of the school. She is so shy and does not dare to walk into school. Suddenly, her friends took her hand and said, “Okey, let go in.”
Then she entered, her heart was pounding. She was scared and did not know what was going on. Then she entered the classroom, she was shocked when she saw the teacher and her friends looking at her with happy eyes. They never forgot her. She was very happy and she went to study in ABCs and Rice school again.
The little girl goes to school at night and she worked during the day. No matter how hard she worked, she was still happy when she went to see her teacher and friends.
One day, the teacher asked her what she want to do in the future. She does not know how to answer because she think firstly she has a job and secondly she does not want to be a teacher. Sometime says she want to be a police officer, sometime she says she want to be a tailor, but she does not know for sure what she want to do.
She kept answering, but she did not know that the teacher was trying hard to find a good future for her. She also thought in her mind that she wanted to find a good job. It was very difficult because she did not finish learning Khmer. Whenever a teacher asks about her future, she always thinks to herself, What can I do? What do I love and like?
At one point, she realized that she loved cooking. She also went to tell her teacher that she like to cook and she want to be a chef.
Hearing this, her teacher was very happy and the teacher said, “There is a school called Haven. The school teaches cooking. And, when we graduate, the school will find a job for us to do. You have to study there for a year and there is also accommodation.”
Hearing this, the little girl was very happy. “Let me ask my father first,” she said.
When she returned home, she asked her father to send her to Haven. At first her father did not agree, but after listening to her explanation, her father finally agreed.
At that time, the teacher in ABCs and Rice school took her to apply to study at Haven. After passing the interview, she became a student at Haven.
At that time, the teacher at ABCs and Rice school was very happy. He took her to announce to everyone in the school that she had become a student at Haven school, and she was happy too.
She later went to Haven school. She stays there and she also has many good friends there. The people at Haven really liked her and they even celebrated her birthday. And she was happy there too.
A year later, she graduated from Haven and Haven took her to train in Navutu Dream Hotel. After she trained in Navutu for three months, she also became a full-time employee there. And she now does the job she love and she even has more money to rent (support) her family."