Everyday, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty and cultural norms. For International Day of the Girl, we talked to a family with three generations of women to see how access to education has improved

When Granny Long Pov, 70, was a little girl, going to school was an unattainable dream. It was the same for her daughter, Seak Sokhom, now 33. But times have changed.

The youngest generation of women in their family, Punthea, 13, and Peuo, nine, are now both in school. With the help of CCF, they are receiving opportunities that their mother and grandmother could only dream of.

Granny Pov grew up in poverty, her father died when she was just seven years old and she was left responsible for supporting her family.

“I didn’t go to school, I worked on farms with my mother but I would spend my spare time studying under a tree,” explained Granny Pov.

Like many others of her age in Cambodia, she lived through the Pol Pot regime and was left displaced by the war. The barriers of poverty that prevented Granny Pov from attending school passed through the generations to her daughter.

“My daughter [Seak Sokhom] didn’t go to school because I didn’t have the money to buy her books and pay for schooling. But she taught herself by reading from magazines.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, at the age of 13, Seak Sokhom, began working on rice fields. Although without a formal education, Sokhom now works for CCF and sees a bright future for her daughters.

“It is different for my daughters now, they can have an education. Without CCF, my daughters lives would have been like mine,” said Sokhom.

Cultural attitudes in Cambodia often mean that girls face a greater pressure to drop out of school early and contribute to their families income. But CCF provides girls with an opportunity to study in a safe and inclusive environment: over 70% of CCF students at the Neeson Cripps Academy are female.

Punthea, her eldest daughter, studies in a CCF accelerated class. Combining two academic years into one, she is catching up her peers and has ambitions to one day be a doctor.

“My dreams for my daughters are for them to stay in school and to become doctors,” Seak Sokhom proudly stated, before being quickly corrected by her youngest daughter, Peou:

“No, I want to be a teacher now!”

CCF knows that investing in girls is key to eliminating poverty and creating safe and bright futures for everyone. When girls are healthy, educated, safe from violence and empowered, they pull themselves, their children and their entire community out of poverty.

Click here to read more about the award winning education girls receive at CCF.

Alice Brown/CCF

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