Ven is a 23-year-old from Kampong Chhnang province in Cambodia.
Like many other young adults, his parents are subsistence farmers. For nearly 30 years, Ven’s father has harvested palm sugar. This low-paying work is extremely dangerous, but was necessary to provide for Ven’s family.
“My father received very little education after the Pol Pot regime; he has few skills other than farming and producing palm sugar,” shares Ven. “For many years he got up at 3 a.m., climbed the palm tree [about 20-25 meters high], harvested the palm tree water, and gave it to my mom for making sugar. The process is not very difficult, but it takes a lot of time to make it.”
While Ven was in high school, his father suddenly got sick and needed an urgent surgery. His family could not afford the hospital fees, so Ven’s mother decided to sell some of their farmland and cows to pay for the treatment. After his father recovered, the doctor warned him not to climb palm trees or work as hard as before. The situation was dire for Ven’s family.
After Ven graduated from high school, he asked his parents for permission to study in Phnom Penh. At first, they disagreed because they didn’t have any money to pay his school fees. However, they wanted to see Ven have a bright future, so they decided to take out a loan from a neighbor and sell their last cow to pay for the school fees. During his first year, Ven sought a part-time job in construction while studying. As a day laborer, it was difficult for him to find enough work to make ends meet and to pay for his education expenses.
Ven heard about a scholarship opportunity through his church and made an application to CWEF. With your generous support, he was approved and has been sponsored through the CWEF University Scholarship program since his second year of studying electrical engineering at National Technical Training Institute (NTTI). Ven is now in his final year and will graduate in 2023!
Through the years, Ven has worked hard to show appreciation for his parents’ struggles and out of gratitude for your generous support through CWEF. Because of his humility and good character, he has been able to develop supportive relationships with his classmates and teachers, and he has become an outstanding student.
Your generous support through CWEF has inspired Ven to keep fighting onward.
“The support from CWEF has helped me a lot—to pay for school fees and housing costs, and also to encourage me when I am discouraged, and to help me focus more on my studies.”
Additionally, Ven never forgets to serve at his church in Phnom Penh each weekend. On other weekends, he goes back to visit his family and to serve at the church near his home in Kampong Chhnang province.
Through your generous gift of a university education, Ven has transformed himself from a part-time day laborer to a technical team leader in an engineering company in Phnom Penh.
He is grateful for this job, because it is closely related to what he is studying at university. Ven worked hard to overcome many obstacles the last few years during the pandemic, and he is filled with joy to be serving as a team leader who looks out for his coworkers. Ven was especially pleased that he was able to install many electrical machines at his own university through his company’s projects.
“During COVID, I was in front of the computer, just learning from theory with no practice. But when I started working, I realized that there are many things to learn and keep learning. So now my motto is: to work hard, keep fighting, be honest, and be humble.”
Ven’s ambitions do not end here; he aspires to someday become an electrical engineering lecturer at a university, so he can pass on knowledge to students, teaching not only the theories but also through sharing from his practical experience in the field.
Ven is filled with gratitude for your support through CWEF, which has given him the opportunity to pursue his dream.
“I would feel regret if I had not decided to come to Phnom Penh to study. I would never know how big the world is, and I don’t know what my life would be like,” shares Ven. “Maybe I would have followed in my father’s footsteps. But – when I chose education, and especially when I received the scholarship from CWEF, my life changed dramatically.”
Thank you for standing by outstanding young people like Ven through your generous support of the CWEF scholarship fund for students in Cambodia! Your gifts are transforming lives!
This article was written by Panhary Port Puth, Education Program Coordination, Cambodia.
Meet another outstanding CWEF scholarship recipient: Bun Leang.
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