Hello, my name is Loeun Chantha and I am 21 years old. I was born into a poor farmer’s family in the Roluos Village of rural Cambodia. Growing up an orphan, whose mother passed away at a young age and whose father remarried when I was in grade 7, I was raised by my aging, ill grandmother. Seeing my family struggle to put food on the table, I had made up my mind to drop out of school and risk my life to travel across the border to Thailand in order to find work and support my family. Luckily, around the time I was conjuring up such ideas, an announcement was made at my local school: a scholarship opportunity for needy students offered by the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC) and Lotus Outreach. I applied for it immediately, and after going through a rigorous interview process, I was chosen for the scholarship program.
The program not only offered tuition for my education, but also provided me with key items without which I could not have attended school. These included my uniforms, school supplies, bicycle for travelling to and from school, and a monthly stipend. I worked hard throughout high school, but when I reached 12th grade, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my throat that required an urgent operation. Fortunately, because I was in the Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) scholarship program, Lotus Outreach paid for my operation and saw me back to recovery.
Moreover, my teachers along with the program staff were extremely supportive in helping me plan for my future and presenting me with all my available opportunities. They saw me through until I graduated high school and went on to pass the exam for the two-year Teacher Training program at Banteay Meanchey Teaching Center. Lotus Outreach and CWCC continue to support me by providing food for my family so that I may continue my education on to college. Without the funding to buy textbooks and other necessary support, I would not have been able to continue my education beyond high school. Thanks to supporters like you, my dream of becoming a primary school teacher is now becoming a reality!
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