My name is Hout Sreymom. I am 44 years old, and I was born in a small village in Kompong Cham province. I grew up with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. When I was 6 years old, my parents separated. I missed a lot of school and only started the first grade when I was 9 years old. I had to repeat grade 1 for two years because I could not catch up on the lessons. When I finally graduated into grade 2 at 12 years old, I moved to live with my father in Phnom Penh. Once I arrived in PP, I thought that I would continue my study at state school as my father had told me. On the contrary, I had to take care of younger step-siblings and I did not have a chance to go to study. I never did return to school.
When I was 17 years old, I returned to Kompong Cham. I did not have any education or working knowledge, so I had to force myself to work in a small shop as a chef’s assistant and cleaner. At that time, I earned a very small income and the money that I did earn, I gave straight to my mother. At the age of 22 years old, I had an arranged marriage to my cousin. Myself and my husband then moved to Siem Reap and lived with relatives. My husband and I started a small business together, but the money we earned from this was not enough to survive, so I worked a second job at a spa. Unfortunately, my husband started drinking alcohol heavily, and I was regularly a victim of domestic violence. I suffered until I was brave enough to make the choice to divorce him. Since then, I was a single mother with two children. I had been working in the Spa for 8 years and I met my new partner.
After working in a spa for so many years, I wanted to experience work in a new environment and learn new things. Therefore, I decided to quit my old job and started my new journey at REACH as a Kitchen Chef. I really enjoy cooking and I believe that I can provide good daily meals to the kids at REACH. I feel very happy and excited every time I cook meals for the students because I want to see the kid’s physical and mental growth. Although I did not have a chance to receive a good education when I was young because of financial problems, I wish all children to have the opportunity to study and have a better future.
I really love my job because I can help all enrolled kids and families at REACH. Also, I am always happy to work with other staff members as everyone is friendly, kind, positive and willing to provide a positive impact to the community.