Mar 4th, 2019 03/04/19 | Photography Essays

Meet the Graduates

30 CCF students recently graduated from university, among them some of the first children rescued from Phnom Penh's garbage dump back in 2004/5. Here, 6 from the Class of 2018 share their memories — and their next steps

Oark Nayheang

  • About me: I am 24 years old. I am a different girl and have a different life then I did when I was young. My life changed through education with CCF. With an education, I don’t know where I would have gone to have a better world. I come from Barong, a small island, in Cambodia in Kandal province. I was a shy girl and I didn’t like to make friends with other people around me, but through CCF’s programs such as Leadership, I can illustrate my abilities. I can stand up and inspire other children like me. My past, my story, I still remember and keep in my mind because it is my dark life but it motivates me to change myself. I didn’t hate myself when I was at the Steung Meanchey dumpsite because it pushed me to find a way to solve that problem.
  • My degree: BA in Tourism Management, Royal University of Phnom Penh
  • Myself in 6 words or less: Stand up to change yourself
  • Now I’ve graduated, I will… share my knowledge and experience, and what I have learned from CCF and school, to the young generation to understand and be aware of the benefit of education. I like to share my story with other people who would like to hear it. I will tell those people that it is my first step to success in my life, that I can change myself, and other people can too. I say that ‘No one is going to change your life, only you can change yourself.” Those are my sentences that I like to use to motivate myself. I love helping other people like CCF supports me and helps me until I can find my own way to go.

Sun Srey Nak

  • About me: I was born in Svay Rieng province. I have nine family members. My mother is housewife. Before I came to CCF, I was a little kid who lived without getting enough education because I have to help my mother to earn money. In 2006, I came to Phnom Penh to be a garbage collector. I was only 13 years old and had no idea what I was doing with my life. I was desperate as my father left us and I have siblings to look after. One day I met Scott’s (Scott Neeson, CCF Founder) driver at the garbage dumpsite and he introduced me to get an interview at CCF. I like reading books and riding my bicycle.
  • My degree: BA in English Literature, Norton University
  • Myself in 6 words or less: Born to love and succeed
  • Now I’ve graduated, I will… get a scholarship to pursue my master’s degree in Education.

Oark Nayhouy

  • About me: I am 24 years old. I am originally from Kandal Province. I was born in very poor family on a small island called Barong. In my family, we have six members including my parents, two brothers, sister and me. When I was about nine, I moved to Phnom Penh with my sister Nayheang and we ended up living and working on the dumpsite. We joined CCF in 2005 and started school.I am currently working as a Sponsor Relations Officer with CCF.
  • My degree: BA in English for Communication, Norton University
  • Myself in 6 words or less: Talented, strong, easy-going, sincere, independent, generous
  • Now I’ve graduated, I will… take a break and go travelling somewhere that I enjoy. For four years I have worked hard for my degree. After the holiday, I will find a master’s degree scholarship as it has always been my dream to study abroad.

Rous Srey Nich

  • About me: I was born in 1994. I'm from Takeo province and I have six siblings. I have been studying at CCF around 14 years. I was one of the first children that Scott (Scott Neeson, CCF Founder) found when he first visited the dump in 2003. I was living there with my mum and younger sister. My favorite food is Khmer food and in my free time I like talking with friends and going out for a walk.
  • My degree: BA in Management, Norton University
  • Myself in 6 words or less: Loves to eat and likes sport
  • Now I’ve graduated, I will… plan to make a small business and maybe next year, I will start that plan because now I’m still saving the money.

Phun Sreytouch

  • About me: I was born on 25 April 1995 [now 23]. I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers. I like to eat soup and talking about fruit, I really like mango and papaya. In my free time, I like to date my friends and a share smile together.
  • My degree: BA in teaching English as a second or foreign language. Asia Euro University
  • Myself in 6 words or less: I like motivating myself and others
  • Now I have graduated, I will… work harder to support my family and save money to buy a house to live in with my family.

Sie Mao

  • About me: I was born in 1995 at Battambong province [around 290 km from Phnom Penh]. As I remember, in 2005 Scott went to Battambong for a short visit and he went to the pagoda where I lived with my uncle (a monk). The first time I met Scott, he asked me ‘Do you want to study?’ ‘Do you want to live in CCF?’ I rejected it because as a young boy I had never known Phnom Penh city or an NGO. Two years later, my uncle got in contact with Scott again so I got the chance to live in CCF. I like everything that CCF provided, like an education, PE, and sport. My favourite food is fried eggs and fried rice. In my free time, I like reading books.
  • My degree: BA in Law, Royal University of Law and Economics
  • Myself in 6 words or less: Easy-going and good communicator with others
  • Now I have graduated, I will… continue my education with a master’s degree abroad.
Written by

Kate Ginn

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