The youngest of eight children, Khorn Bopha went to live with her grandparents in Kompong Cham province at age four after her parents’ contentious divorce. She was mocked and derided by the people in her new village, who looked down on her for having been abandoned. Although her grandparents were kind and cared for her, she felt like an outcast and in the sixth grade she dropped out of school to work in the fields by her aging guardians.
At age 17 and with few ties to sever, Bopha struck out on her own. She found a restaurant job in a nearby province earning $50 a month, but when a friend suggested they move to Phnom Penh for better opportunities Bopha saw little to lose. She found work at a restaurant called Suon Bopha, the location of one of our Non-Formal Education classes.
Bopha took full advantage of the literacy and vocational classes made available at her place of employment. Her work was difficult and left her vulnerable to harassment by customers, but she stayed on for eight months taking classes and strengthening her skill set. Finally confident she could qualify for something better, she asked the NFE program manager to help her find a new job.
As luck would have it, a security position was open at a local factory paying almost twice Bopha’s restaurant salary. She applied, and this past December Bopha began her new job. Although she now has more security, she continues to take sewing classes with NFE to keep her options for upward mobility open. We thank you, our donors, for the hope and dignity your gifts make possible for believers like Bopha.
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