As the youngest of a family of eight with both parents working relentlessly in the fields to provide for their family’s basic needs, Sreymom grew up believing that higher education, English skills, and assistance in finding quality employment were out of reach.
After graduating high school, Sreymom, like so many rural Cambodians, moved to Phnom Penh hoping for a better life. On arriving in the city, Sreymom went to stay with distant relatives in a slum community along the railroad tracks.
Once there, Sreymom discovered EYC and began studying English and computers at EYC’s Youth School. In order to help her earn extra income, EYC assisted her in finding employment as a cleaner. Sreymom worked hard and connected well with her boss, who found her other jobs cleaning for friends.
With her life on more stable footing, Sreymom began to put additional focus on her studies which resulted in EYC providing her with a scholarship to study accounting for a term. With her good reputation as a cleaner, Sreymom was able to contribute towards her tuition. After a few terms, she became financially independent and was able to pay for all of her university.
Through EYC, Sreymom was able to get much needed major dental treatment including tooth replacements. EYC covered half of the treatment cost and provided the remaining balance to Sreymom as an interest-free loan.
As time went by, hope was becoming evident throughout Sreymom’s life; she no longer struggled with basic English or computer skills, she moved into a safe home with a dear friend (an EYC English teacher), she was working jobs she enjoyed, and she was taking care of her own needs. It was then that Sreymom added something she hadn’t had much of in her life – play!
Sreymom joined EYC’s cycling team and proved to be a strong rider. Like many of the other EYC students who participate in the cycling program, not only did Sreymom experience the physical benefits of cycling and being out in nature, she also developed confidence, self-esteem, and leadership skills.
While at a mountain bike race, Sreymom connected with a cycling tour company. What was once an outlet for fun and personal development turned into a career path when the company recruited her to work in their shop. After quickly learning the business, she was promoted to a day-tour guide, and now leads tourists on bike rides through the Cambodian countryside. Sreymom is good at her job and has lots of opportunities to practice her English, which has dramatically improved.
To give back to EYC, Sreymom volunteered as a student Team Leader and was a key player and participant in EYC’s garbage clean-up program and Youth Leadership Challenge.
When asked what role EYC played in Sreymom’s adult life and future, she was at a loss for words, but then said: “EYC touched all parts of my life…. my health, my education, my social skills, my employment…There is nothing I can say to show how important EYC is to me. All I can say is THANK YOU to everyone that gives money to EYC to change my life and the life of other people like me. Without your help my life and future would be very different.”