My name is Nuon Theary. I’m 25 years old and living in Phnom Penh, Capital City of Cambodia. I have been working as an Administrative Officer and Coordinator for the Sponsorship Program for the NGO “Child Rights Foundation” (CRF).
You can contact me via email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook: Theary Nuon
This is my story.
I was born with a poor family. My father died since I was a baby. This means my mother had to support the family by herself. After a period of time, she got married to my stepfather. My life changed completely. I needed to leave from my hometown with my mother to live in Kandal Province. Unfortunately, my stepfather was not good with me. He was very violent and abused me. I lived in very difficult situation. I needed to be careful every time and try to protect myself by escaping from my stepfather. Sometime, I cried alone and didn't know where I should go. I only dreamed for having a good family as others. I wanted to get warmth from my family, (love me, have lunch together, stay and sit together), but it was different. When I was 5 years old, a relative took me to the Khmer Friendship Orphanage Center (KFO) and I had stayed there until I was 17 years old. In the beginning, I felt strange to be at the orphanage. There were more than 100 children living together, but still I felt lonely. However, when I got to know the other children it got better. We used to play a lot and shared a lot together.
”If you are poor/unprivileged, don’t be hopeless (/don’t feel out of hope). Try to find a way! It is possible.”
When I got older I went to a public primary. In school I saw other children with their parents and thought that they were lucky, happy and comfortable with their family. They had new clothes, more money for food and they were happy: they had a family at home. I also had clothes, but not as nice as other children. Moreover, when the public holiday came some of my friends at Center had their father/mother taken them home. But for me, I didn’t have that time and I felt lonely and I really wanted to go home. However, such the time, didn't make me feel hopeless. It made me stronger! I knew that even if I’m a child living at an orphanage, I had to change my life and develop my potential. I used to tell myself that: “this is my life. I have to be strong. If I’m not strong, I cannot change my life. Only me can change my life.”
After finishing high school at the orphanage center in 2011, I had to decide what to do with my future. I applied and had a chance to get an interview for the Child Sponsorship Program, which was a scholarship funded by the Norway House. I was fortunate to get supported, so I started studying short course at CIST/PNC in 2012 and I got from school such as computer foundation, general knowlege, English and behavioral skills. In 2013, I started studying at the Cambodian Mekong University majoring in English for Business. The Norway House and Child Rights Foundation supported me with school fees, monthly allowance, accommodation, books and other study materials, transportation and medical care. Norway House provided the sponsored students with a house where I lived together with around 10 other sponsored students. With the scholarship from the Norway House, I didn't have to worry about how to support myself. I could focus only on my studies, and not be troubled about anything else. Other scholarship students and I had closed contact with the Norway House and were even offered counseling if needed. I graduated my Bachelor Degree of English for Business at Cambodian Mekong University on 12 August 2017. I was supported by Norway House from August 2011 to September 2015.
My free time
Besides the work and study, I like listening to music, reading books, searching, dancing and doing exercise. I love taking physical exercise in every morning because it makes me healthy and my body stronger.
Future Goals and Dreams
In 2019, I will continue my Master Degree on International Relations because I want to expand my knowledge and get higher education. I want to know ways of communication and political and economic development. I want to become a specialist in international communication.
My dream after graduating is to work for an NGO and meeting people. I want to contribute my knowledge and skills in developing my country. I want to help children with similar backgrounds from the country-side and orphanage centers. I try to visit the orphanage center where I grew up as often as I can - sometimes two times per month, and sometimes every month. By sharing my story and experience with children, I want to show what you can do/is possible if you study hard.
Many families or children in this country are poor or do not have the opportunity to study. I would like to encourage them. It is possible and to develop and have a good job and being able to support yourself!
Great thanks to Orphanage Center for providing me a valuable education, experiences and developing in all aspects of the child development-spiritual, social, intellectual, physical. I am truly grateful that Child Rights Foundation and Norway House gave me the opportunity to study and a chance to work with CRF! More if no CRF and NH, I don’t have today. I love CRF and NH so much. I wish NH still continue to help children in Cambodia.