One of CCF’s star students, 13 year old Rachna, has been decorating her family’s walls with awards for over five years. It was only when she asked for her certificates to be framed that the extent of her achievements was revealed

CCF recognises the hard work of every single student, and there is no shortage of bright and dedicated students in our classrooms. But every so often there is a student who goes above and beyond.

In the five years Rachna has been with CCF, she has won an impressive 13 awards – 11 framed, one waiting to be framed and one certificate missing – these include ‘Student of the Month’ and ‘Most Improved Student of the Year’.

When asked what these awards mean to her, Rachna explains: “When I win these awards I feel so very happy and proud. It makes me feel like I can achieve my dreams.”

Home for Rachna is a small one room she shares with her parents and two siblings, a younger sister and older brother. They live in the heart of Steung Meanchey, once the site of Phnom Penh’s municipal garbage dump and still one of the most impoverished parts of Cambodia.

Rachna has had to overcome a difficult home life, but her academic achievements are inspiring her to dream of a better life in which she can escape the cycle of poverty.


Like any other 13 year old around the world, Rachna’s favourite school subjects and career aspirations are ever changing. Her current goal? To be a tour guide. The week before that? A doctor.

“My dream is to be a guide, because I want to share my knowledge with foreigners, to tell them about the history of Cambodia and show off all the temples… so I need to practice my English a lot and be respectful, persuasive and very friendly,” says Rachna.

No matter what her dream is, CCF is here to give her the chance she deserves in life.

“I have no doubt that Rachna will, in the years ahead, move her whole family into a far better environment. Her generation will be the last to live in such conditions. And all it took was an opportunity,” says CCF’s founder, Scott Neeson.

Through CCF’s Leadership Program, Rachna is acquiring the skills she will need to be a future leader in her community. She has already shown promise, winning yet another award at a recent leadership camp, tutoring her younger sister and sharing her wisdom with her peers.

Her advice to other students if they want to win awards? “Please study hard and try to be a good student and person in society,” she says.

When Scott Neeson agreed to buy frames for Rachna’s prized awards, he hadn’t anticipated just how many he would need: a pleasant but costly surprise. Since then Rachna has found another of her awards and is certain there is one more lost in her home, bringing the grand total to 13.

Rachna has asked for another frame for award number 12, but there is no doubt she will need many more in the future.

To give more girls like Rachna the chance to dream, please consider starting your journey with CCF. By making a donation, or sponsoring a child, you can give the gift of opportunity to a young girl. Find out more here.

Alice Brown/ CCF

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