My name is Sokun and I am 26 years old. I was born in a very rural village, Chikreng District, which is about 50 kms from Siem Reap town. My parents were farmers with 5 children, and I am the fourth child. Sadly, when I was 8 years old, my mum passed away and my dad remarried.
My family were extremely poor, but still my dad tried his best to get 4 of us to finish university. However, because we needed an income, my eldest brother had to help my dad farming and look after my siblings as my mother had passed away.
Although it was 15 years ago, I still remember to this day how hard we worked to get an education. We went to the local government school, but we were really struggling with school materials. We had no bike to travel to school, no shoes and no books, all things that were essential for us to study. On the way to school, my dad always gave us vegetables for us to sell to the villagers to get some money so that we could afford to study.
When my second brother got a job in 2010, he tried to support me to move out of the village to study in Siem Reap. I was really lucky because I got the chance to continue to study at university in 2012. I chose to study teaching English as a second language.
In my first year at university, I was a teacher at Life and Hope Association for about 6 months. After that I needed to change to a full-time job to pay for my university fees, so I worked as a Teaching Assistant in Smart Kids International School. In 2015, I changed my job again to work at an international school called Go Global school as a Teaching Assistant. I then got promoted to Head Teaching Assistant and after that, promoted to Foreign Language Program Director. During this time, I was also a teacher for the General English Program (GEP) part time. Whilst studying, I worked full time from 6.30am – 6pm and then went to university in the evenings until 9pm.
Life in university was exciting but also challenging. I was not the smartest, but I studied hard which paid off as I was awarded the most “outstanding student” for 3 consecutive years on my course. I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in 2016 at Build Bright University.
I worked at Go Global international school for four years and I learnt a lot of different work and experiences. At the end of 2019, my baby and I had health problems and I had to stop working. After 5 months, due to financial problems, I was looking for work and I knew about REACH from one of my friends.
I decided to work at REACH because REACH is an NGO, which helps poor kids to study and help families to improve their situations. Another reason is I want to share and teach children from poor families, I still remember my own childhood, so I want to help them as well and try my best to advance them to become good students and good people in our society. In the future, my dream is to run an NGO in my village so all my poor neighbors’ children can learn English and have the same opportunities to change their life like I have.