Each one has already made a remarkable journey overcoming adversity to find new beginnings with CCF and the chance to attend school.
Now another exciting chapter is about to start for the three latest CCF students who have been offered a scholarship with the prestigious International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
Sreynuch Loeng, Kanha Morb and Srey Moeurn Non, all aged 11, were chosen after a selection process of test and interviews, competing against students from another NGO in Phnom Penh.
They will join 16 other CCF scholars already at ISPP.
The scholarship covers schooling for the full 6 years of secondary school studying an international baccalaureate.
Sreynuch, Kanha and Moeurn will soon be starting an intensive program to prepare them for the next stage of their life and educational journeys.
Meet our super scholars:
Sreynuch joined CCF in January 2013 after the family had moved from a province in rural Cambodia.
Working as farmers, their parents had struggled to make ends meet. Like many other economic migrants from the countryside, they headed to Phnom Penh in the hope of a better life.
They arrived in Steung Meanchey, an entry-point into Phnom Penh for families and destitute children, and with little option for other work began scavenging on the garbage dump.
The few dollars they managed to make each day was still not enough for their growing family.
When Sreynuch’s parents heard about CCF from their neighbours, they took along their middle daughter and her older sister. Both were accepted into CCF’s Education Program.
“We were very happy and thankful to CCF,” says Sreynuch.
Sreynuch entered into CCF’s Daycare Program while her sister began full-time education.
Today, Sreynuch is in Grade 6 at CCF’s satellite school, Prek Toil, where she enjoys reading and Khmer literature.
The family live in a home provided by CCF close to Sreynuch’s school. Every day, she walks to class with her sister Somnang.
While her father still makes a living from scavenging, her mother now works in a garment factory, and the family has access to support and free medical care at CCF’s community health centre.
Sreynuch has also been sponsored since 2018 through CCF’s Sponsorship Program.
Having the opportunity to learn has changed Sreynuch’s life and her dream for the future is to be a Khmer teacher.
Before joining CCF, Kanha never had the chance to attend school, which makes her scholarship achievement even more impressive.
Her mum has had to overcome challenges of her own before Kanha was born, including an abusive first husband who threw acid at her when she divorced him. Moving to Phnom Penh for hospital treatment, a single mum with a young daughter, she hoped for a fresh start.
While she remarried and had another daughter, Kanha, her second husband abandoned the family and was never heard from again.
Determined to provide for her two daughters, she learned to sew and worked as a tailor’s assistant for an organization helping women acid attack survivors with healthcare and vocational training.
When the organization moved, the job ended and the family was again struggling financially, moving to Steung Meanchey for yet another new start.
Living in a rental room with her two young daughters with a meagre income from a job as a tailor, there was not much left after paying rent and living expenses.
I didn’t have the chance to attend school like other kids. I just stayed at home and played around nearby.
Life changed for the family when they were accepted into CCF’s program.
Kanha started daycare with regular nutritious meals, before moving into the full Education Program and the chance of an education that she had been denied before.
As well as access to free healthcare, rice and community support, the family was given a World Housing home in one of CCF’s communities, the first safe and comfortable house they had ever lived in.
Kanha’s mum also had the security of a job with CCF working as a cleaner. The family’s days of living on the poverty line and worrying about where the next meal was coming from were over.
Kanha has a sponsor in Australia, who has been supporting her since September 2019.
Now in Grade 5, Kanha loves reading Khmer storybooks in her free time and, like her fellow ISPP scholar, Sreynuch, has ambitions to be a teacher and achieve her full potential.
Srey Moeurn Non
When she was younger, Moeurn would join her parents looking through piles of rotten rubbish to scavenge for recyclables to sell so the family could buy food for that night’s dinner.
Joining CCF in 2014 changed her life.
Moeurn was able to start school for the first time and never had to scavenge through garbage again.
She attends a CCF satellite school, The Rice Academy, in Steung Meanchey, where the family lives.
Like her two fellow ISPP scholars, Moeurn’s parents moved to the city from a province outside of Phnom Penh hoping to find a life better than toiling away as laborers harvesting corn and beans on a farm.
Life was just as hard on the garbage dump, where they worked from early morning until dark amid a sprawling garbage mountain, making very little income.
“Sometimes, I had to join them too. Even though I was little, I always tried to help my mom with the housework as much as I could,” says Moeurn.
Even though my parents worked very hard, they still weren’t able to earn enough to send my sister and me to school. They could only make enough money for us to have food to eat.
Moeurn’s hopes of going to school seemed more out of reach than ever.
CCF was able to make her dream come true when she was accepted into the Education Program with her older sister.
The family of four and a grandfather live in a small house near Moeurn’s CCF school and received the support they needed to ensure that Moeurn and her sister were able to stay in school.
Moeurn, who was sponsored at the beginning of the year, likes playing games such as run-and-chase with her sister and best friends and enjoys CCF’s playground.
Her best subject is math and her aim is to be a doctor one day.