My name is Sovanara, but people usually call me Nara. I am 23 years old and live with my mom in a house near Lakeside School. In January 2018, I became the EYC Sports Coordinator.
When I was young my life was relatively normal, and I went to school regularly. However, my father left us to start a new family when I was ten years old. We had a number of problems which made concentrating on school challenging. I started hanging out with a gang and skipping school. Many of my friends from that time went on to only reach Grades 5, 6 or 7.
It was my love of sports and the support of EYC that helped me turn my life around. I started at EYC when I was about 12 years old and participated in the computer and football programs. Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF), an EYC partner, led the football program. I tried out to be a coach with ISF but was turned down because I was too small. I was very sad about this, and because I was feeling bad I stopped going to EYC. Luckily for me, EYC didn’t give up on me. Vandeth, a Team Leader, came to my house to check on me and invited me to join the cycling program and play football again.
Back then my friends would call me “Rubbish Boy” because I scavenged through the garbage looking for recycling to sell. From that, I was able to save enough money to buy a football and football shoes. Perhaps one day I will start a recycling company!
Thanks to EYC, I finished high school. They told me that if I wanted to be on the football team, I needed to stay in school. While I wasn’t interested in school, I was so desperate to play sports at EYC that I stuck with my studies!
Some years ago, I was given a pair of biking shorts by EYC. At that time the shorts were much too big for me, but I was proud to have them so I saved them for when I would grow into them. I now wear them when I coach the young EYC students.
If I did not play sports, I do not know where I would be now. Through sports, I made friends and learned that you can change your life and also help change the lives of others. I am very excited to be able to share my passion and bring sports to more kids through EYC.
P.S. កីឡាបានផ្លាស់ប្តូរជីវិតរបស់ខ្ញុំ(Kiela phlasa btaurchivit robsaknhom), which means “Sport changed my life” is the word I would use to describe EYC’s impact on me.