Khouth-SochampawatdIn 2006 KHOUTH Sochampawatd volunteered in Mebon commune, Prey Veng province. She remained motivated throughout and finished her service with success.

Sochampawatd learned a lot which changed her during her volunteer service. Her behaviour and attitudes changed and as a result of volunteering she now always seeks to understand different cultures, mind sets, she now understands the impact of different standards of living, and tries always to understand the views of other people in her community. As a result of her time in the commune she was able to see the community’s values and to understand and respect them

Another change was in how she worked in a team with her volunteer partner and others, gaining more independence and confidence to be able to work with everybody.

“I became really good at planning, I prepared in advance and adapted to the situation in order to achieve my plan. Youth Star never told me what to do, they just gave me support or counseling, so I learned to think critically and become more resourceful”

Sochampawatd set up a camping club for children, and young people for four communes to come and do activities. As the result all of volunteers brought their children and young people from difference communes to come and join camping and learn together.

“I saw a big change: people built relationships with each other, changed their ways of thinking and believed about themselves in positive ways. When I initiated the idea of building trust, I asked my friends who volunteered to help with preparing the camping activities such as blind walking, cable dancing, giant shoes, spider web, and others. Moreover, I used creative thinking to access available community resources without spending much money. I used my critical thinking to think about the strategies that could make my ideas work”

Sochampawatd became more knowledgeable as during the placement she had to learn many things and teach all kinds of classes such as Khmer, Mathematic and English. She also ran special programs for young leaders of the next generation, to do this she needed to research and read lot of books to strengthen her knowledge and capacity.

“I also learnt about different standards of living in the community and how to work with them. By observing and communicating with them I could see it was because of their attitude, knowledge, thinking, and skills. I placed a lot of value on those things, and paid attention to detail to improve and empower those components and my potentials to reach my dream; step by step in order to accomplish them”.

Finally, she developed leadership and management skills, working with people, report and proposal writing, teaching, facilitating, problem solving, training, and preparing sessions for sharing with children and young people. For example, she worked with children, and young people to mobilise the community to build a community library and school. In addition, they worked on campaigns focusing on the environment in the community and planted trees. They also set up the community resource centre.

“In particular I formed a youth club. I prepared and provided many different topics including how to create a vision and mission, goal setting, time management, presentation, speaking skills, and leadership, amongst others. As the result; the youth have undertaken lots of positive changes for their community and the next generation. Resulting from this, the commune council committees gave them some money to run a project for their generation to share what they have learnt from me, so all of positive changes for this commune enabled me to be a good role model and pass these leadership skills to others”.

“These changes, as a result of my volunteering through Youth Star, have given me confidence and strong determination and inspiration to keep making a difference for my country and the world”.