Sep 26th, 2020 09/26/20 | Community Stories

Young Techs

CCF students are tuning into the power of technology as future careers. Here we meet three students, including a brother and sister, who are making great strides in their future careers.

Thayheng

After recently graduating with a degree in Computer Science following five years of study, Thayheng is preparing for the next stage of his educational journey - taking up a scholarship for a Master’s in France.

Thayheng, 24, who joined CCF when he was eight years old having never attended school before, was awarded the full scholarship through the French Embassy in Phnom Penh, after passing a rigorous selection process.

He will start a one year Master’s in Network and Telecommunications program at the Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse on September 28.

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Thayheng also teaches computer science at CCF's Neeson Cripps Academy

“My parents are very excited for me too. I feel very happy that I’ve made my mum proud, that’s really a good feeling.”

Thayheng has seen how technology is increasingly shaping the future of Cambodia, creating a need for tech savvy young Cambodians to fill the expected skills gap, one of the reasons that he switched his Bachelor’s from engineering to Computer Science.

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I started off wanting to study civil engineering but during my first year, I got involved in many more activities and changed my major to Computer Science. I find technology fascinating; how it changes our lives, especially in terms of our social interactions, our communications, and even how much it has approved the systems we are using right now.

— Thayheng

The educational foundation provided by CCF has equipped Thayheng with the tools and capacity to embrace the technological revolution in Cambodia, enabling him to contribute to the future of his country.

CCF also supported Thayheng during his full-time degree program at the Institute of Technology in Cambodia.

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Thayheng receiving student award in 2011
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Thayheng leading a student presentation in 2014

These are opportunities that Thayheng, who grew up in poverty in rural Cambodia, once never dreamed of.

“My family could not afford to send me to school when we were in the province, so we decided to move to Phnom Penh in the hope that there might be work so that my mother and my father can feed the family.

“So we moved to Steung Meanchey, to the dumpsite, and we started scavenging, picking up rubbish and stuff. I was about eight years old at the time.

“I only did it for a couple of months because I got into CCF. I was very lucky.”

Thayheng’s younger sister also joined CCF and is currently in Grade 11 at the Neeson Cripps Academy.

While his focus is on starting his Master’s course, Thayheng already has thoughts on his next step, getting a PhD.

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After that, I want to go back to Cambodia and do teaching at one of the universities. I want to pass on my knowledge to others and inspire the next generation.

— Thayheng
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Norain and Borei

Brother and sister, Norain and Borei, are a double CCF success with both carving themselves out paths in their chosen fields of media and technology, part of a new generation of Khmer youth looking to venture into the country’s expanding tech scene.

Norain, 25, who joined CCF when he was 12 years old, is in his fourth year of a Computer Science degree at Norton University in Phnom Penh, while working full-time. Meanwhile, Borei, 20, recently won a full scholarship from CIMB Bank PLC to study a four-year undergraduate degree in Information Technology, one of three CCF students chosen.

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Norain and Borei

Borei’s interest in technology was sparked at a young age taking computer classes at CCF. Later at the Neeson Cripps Academy (NCA), CCF’s flagship secondary school, which provides a high quality education with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), she had the opportunity to learn electronics, coding and programming.

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Borei presenting ideas in class
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Norain working as part of CCF's media production team

He’s enjoying his Computer Science degree, attending evening classes after work.

“I love technology and the future in Cambodia will be about technology,” said Norain.

“Technology is moving very fast but in Cambodia, we still don’t know much about it. That is why I want to learn more.

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I love coding. When I see my teacher creating a website, or an animation, I think it would be amazing for me to create that. It feels wonderful when I create something new.

— Norain

Women are underrepresented in science and technology jobs in Cambodia, which is why CCF actively encourages girls like Borei to study STEM and consider careers in these fields.

Investing in future technology leaders will ensure a generation of empowered Cambodian youth, capable of making contributions to the country’s growth and economic development.

As one of only seven girls out of a class of 55 on her course at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Borei is proud to be representing women in technology.

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Borei receiving CIMB Bank Scholarship
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Many young women might think it is difficult to study in the IT field but my advice is don’t think that you cannot do it because you will be out of your comfort zone. If you don’t try, you won’t know what it is like. Don’t give up on your dream. We need more young women in the field, women are creative and have many ideas. We need to give girls many opportunities to study technology.

— Borei

Borei’s dream is to be a web designer and have her own company one day. It might end up being a family business as her brother Norain plans to create an app in the future and wants his sister to develop it, while another brother is also keen to study technology.

Norain, who hopes to finish his degree next year, is currently part of the CCF Media Team in the Marketing department, involved with video production, photography and IT projects.

He honed his skills at Sabay Digital, a leading digital media and entertainment group in Cambodia, and is passing on his knowledge and skills to younger CCF students studying media.

“I think I can inspire them. If they know more about technology, even just a little bit, it will help them to be useful in the community or society.”

Read more about CCF's STEM education

Written by

Kate Ginn

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