Sochea met Phan Khea in August 2017. Born in 2005, she had already dropped out of school by the time she was 10. Khea lives with her parents and one young brother in Cheas Village, Preah Domrei Commune,
Stoung District, Kampong Thom Province. At age 12 she began to undertake seasonal migration to Thailand for work to support her family. The day Sochea first met Khea, she mentioned that she desired to go back to school, but had many fears which worried her: unable to read properly she was afraid of the teachers and embarrassed in front of her friends.
Sochea began with reassurance, taking time to explain the value of studying and pushing her confidence to get back to school. One book really helped and it was called “I Read, I Knew, and I‟m Intelligent”; written by Sochea to help the children.
The essence of the book is to educate children on the value of reading and how to build a good and intelligent personality. Sochea enrolled the help of Phan Phanna, one of our Youth Club‟s members who live near Khea„s house, to help her in reading that book. In less than two weeks, she had completed reading it and began to show her reignited passion for school.
Following this progress up, Khea was given a second book to read, called “Dream of The Worm”. She has reads this in her spare time between house work and taking care of her younger brother. Despite her love for reading, Khea still required some help engaging with the Youth Club activities and discovering her voice.
Through subsequent intervention with Youth Star‟s volunteers and the club‟s members, we encouraged and supported her to go back to school. Resultantly, she started her school again at grade 6. Khea has changed a lot after getting back to school; she is determined to learn her favorite subject, Khmer Language. She continues to build more relationship with friends at school because she enjoyed having fun with her classmates. Her father is really happy to see Khea attends school regularly and eager to learn like this. Whilst her monitoring teacher, Mr. Mee Someng has raised that Khea is learning as well as the other students despite dropping out in grade 5.
Khea continues to grow into a hopeful child with dreams of becoming a Khmer Language teacher in the future. She is a role model for those who have dropped out of school in the community. As a Youth Star‟s volunteer, Sochea has been overwhelmed by such a positive change like this.