Back to School?
After ten years making clothes in a factory in Phnom Penh, Chanthy decided to change jobs. She took a new job as a janitor in a Bible school. But while she cleaned the school, she dreamed of furthering her education. She dreamed of someday having an even better life. Then one day she spoke with her sister-in-law who encouraged Chanthy to pursue her dreams and take the national high school exam.
Chanthy (on the front right) traveling to a recent CWEF event
The suggestion was very daunting. More than a decade had passed since Chanthy last took classes. Back then, her father worked hard cultivating rice, growing vegetables, and catching fish to support his eight children; but in the end, there was only enough money for a few children to further their education, and the family gave the boys priority. So, Chanthy dropped out of school in ninth grade. Instead of finishing high school, she helped her family work at home and in the rice field.
Chanthy riding home for Khmer New Year
But now many years later, Chanthy decided to follow her sister-in-law’s advice. She would try to go back to school. Outside of work, she began intensely studying all the high school subjects she previously missed, including English. Chanthy struggled significantly preparing for the high school exam. But in the end, all her hard work paid off. She overcame all the obstacles she faced and passed!
Pursuing Her Dream
Chanthy next desired to go to college, but she felt anxious about the school fees. With the help of generous people like you and the CWEF scholarship program, Chanthy successfully enrolled at Norton College.
While there, she sadly faced even more hardships. During her second year of college, her father had a severe stroke. Chanthy cared for her ailing father throughout her studies. It was a great loss for Chanthy when he passed away two years later. Still, Chanthy tried to study hard through this, believing that the knowledge she was gaining could help her escape poverty.
Despite her great motivation, Chanthy received acceptable but never excellent grades. But her professors and classmates noted her hard work, kindness, and friendliness. Finally, in 2022, Chanthy achieved one of her dreams and successfully graduated from Norton University with a major in English for Teaching!
Chanthy preparing fish for a Khmer New Year’s dinner
“I always told myself that I would never drop out of university, especially when many challenges in my family happened nonstop: my dad getting very sick, my family needing more money, and my study result being not so good. But I didn’t give up. And one more thing, I am so grateful for the scholarship you gave me that helped me to study, and I didn’t want it to go in vain.
I am so grateful to all my beloved people around me that God sent into my life…especially CWEF, who provides me with scholarships. This organization is a big part of what helps, guides, and supports me along the way. Even though I was discouraged at times, I remained motivated…four years later, I finally made it.”
Because of previously experiencing her family’s struggles as well as experiencing factory working conditions, Chanthy never stopped pursuing her dream and strongly believes that education is the only thing that will lead her to a better future.
In the End
Chanthy transformed herself from high school dropout to university graduate and English teacher. She is also a faithful Christian and gifted at working with children. So, in addition to her work, she serves as a Sunday school teacher. Chanthy married in 2021 and is now 33. She is the only one of her sister-siblings to graduate from college.
Sunset behind Chanthy’s house over Khmer New Year