My name is Khim, and I am 18 years old. I live in Siem Reap province. I have 4 younger sisters, 2 younger brothers and 1 older brother.
When I was young, I lived in Preah Vihear with my family, which borders Thailand and where the military base camps are. Between 2006 and 2008, there was two years of conflict, and my father was a soldier during the war with Thailand. My family had to move around a lot to different camp sites to stay safe from the gunfire. But as a place, Preah Vihear was beautiful, with forests, valleys, waterfalls, jungle fruit, and lots of farmland, but I felt scared when we lived there.
In 2010, my parents moved to Siem Reap town. My father struggled to find employment so there was not enough food to eat. But later on, my father got a job as a deliveryman, and I was able to return to school. Whilst I was at school, I was sponsored by a foreigner to support my public-school fees so I could continue studying. My mum also registered me at an NGO to study English for free. At that time, I met Emily who was a volunteer, and she helped my family a lot. I was unable to finish high school due to my difficult home life and domestic violence in my family, but later I was able to enrol in vocational training. I studied in the food & beverage department, and I had the chance to use these skills in a hotel placement.
After completing the one-year course, I got a job at the hotel where I had completed my placement. As is like so many others working in the tourism industry, unfortunately, I lost my job due to Covid-19. That is when I had the opportunity to begin working at REACH as a Photographer & Program support. I feel so lucky to now be working at REACH alongside families and I’m so proud to be helping my community.