Channa comes from Koh Kraboa village, which is located in Kralanh district, around 57km away from Siem Reap town. Koh Kraboa is a small, rural village where the large majority of the population is dependent on rice farming to earn an income. Channa is from a farming family himself and often spent his time after school tending to his family’s vegetables. Access to education beyond primary level in the area is limited, so many people do not receive a sufficient education to pursue higher paying jobs. For many young people in the villages in the district, illegal migration to Thailand is seen as a way to make quick money in a short time. However, this choice can be extremely risky and potentially dangerous – those who opt for this path are often sacrificing an investment in education, and a more secure future, in favor of short-term, unsustainable economic gain. This is exactly what PEPY Empowering Youth aims to counteract through our programs: Dream Class, Learning Center and Scholarship.
When Channa was at school, he realized early on that, in order to get a good job and be able to comfortably support his family in the future, he needed a good education. He juggled his school work with helping out on the family farm, as well as working during the school vacations. Of this time, Channa says “I earned only 7,000 Riels a day when I worked there. It was such memorable experience during my vacation when I studied in primary school because I need to earn some money to buy study material for my new term.” He maintained this determination to learn all the way through school to grade 12, whilst some of his peers dropped out to work full time, and eventually learned about the PEPY Scholarship opportunity. He paid a visit to the PEPY office, which was located in Kralanh at the time, and picked up an application form. After filling it in and submitting it, Channa had to pass his grade 12 exams to be in with a chance of receiving a scholarship. Of course, he passed successfully and only a week later he got the call to say he had been awarded a scholarship. Both he and his family were extremely excited!
Channa is now in his third year of the Scholarship program. He studies Tourism and Hospitality at Build Bright University in Siem Reap, and in his first two years at PEPY he attended classes in English, ICT and Youth Empowerment at the PEPY Learning Center. Having had no prior knowledge of ICT, he has made enormous progress in this field, and he is incredibly competent in English. Not only that, but he has grown in confidence and the Youth Empowerment classes have helped him hone his skills in problem solving, project planning, communication and much more. In April 2015, Channa was selected to travel to Ireland for three weeks to represent the organization in an exchange with our ETNS (Educate Together National School) partner schools. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and he hopes very much to travel overseas again in the future.
In August 2015, PEPY Empowering Youth was extremely pleased and proud to welcome Channa to the staff team in the role of Scholarship Officer. His work involves a range of tasks, such as conducting counseling sessions with the newer Scholarship students and facilitating regular student meetings. He also leads Youth Empowerment classes in the Learning Center. Having been through two years of the Scholarship program himself, Channa is in an ideal position to help the younger students with any issues they may be having. He is an extremely valuable member of the PEPY team and works with incredible passion and enthusiasm.
PEPY Empowering Youth is very honored to have Channa on the team and we wish him continued success in his studies and his work. We are excited to see where this bright young man will go in the future!