My name is Bun Polin and I am 36 years old. I was born about 60kms from Siem Reap city centre. I have 6 brothers & sisters and I am the 4th in my family. When I was 5 years old, there was a terrible tragedy. My house was robbed and 5 of my relatives were murdered. As a result of this, my family fell into poverty. To earn money for our family my dad moved to work in Thailand. After that, I didn’t hear from him again and I didn’t know if he was still alive or not.
This caused my family situation to deteriorate, so 2 of my older sisters decided to move and work in the factories in Phnom Penh. My other sister used to pick fruit from the trees to sell to feed my family and to keep me and my other older sister in education. When I was 8, I helped my mum and my sisters in the rice field, but because I was so young and small, the work was extremely hard for me. Every morning I walked to school and after school I always cut the grass for my cows.
At school I got bullied by the other kids because I didn’t have a bicycle or motorbike and always wore the same clothes. They always teased me that I got abandoned by my father, but my mum and my sister always motivated me to finish high school so I could get a good job in the future to help my family. After I graduated from high school, I went to study as an army nurse. To support my studies, rent and food, I worked as a moto driver. It was difficult as I could not speak English. I began studying English with the monks at the pagoda and worked as a security guard at night.
As tourism increased in town, I decided to buy a tuk-tuk and began working as a tuk-tuk driver. Unfortunately, Covid 19 affected my job as I was no longer able to work with tourists. Luckily, I got a recommendation to work as a driver for an NGO. That was REACH. Now, I am working inside the Bicycle Repair Shop to repair REACH beneficiary bicycles, and to train REACH students and beneficiaries in bike repairing and refurbishing. Working here and training teenagers makes me very happy because I did not think I could do this. Thanks to REACH for giving me confidence, and now, here I am!
I am very happy to work with REACH because I can improve my personal development skills and help the community by training all teenagers to upskill themselves, and to understand the value of education and work for their professional future careers.