Lay BunthaLAY Buntha is originally from Takeo he studied forestry at the Royal University of Agriculture, Phnom Penh and graduated in 2008.

He was depressed at first as he found it difficult to get a job as he had no experience and so he went home to work with his family in the rice field. When Youth Star came to his university he was attracted to what Youth Star had to offer. These included English classes, help with proposal writing and presentations and many other skills. He decided to volunteer in order to gain the necessary skills and tools to help him find a job in future.

He volunteered in Snour district in Kratie Province and worked on a programme ran by the Ministry of Agriculture helping to build latrines.

He also undertook informal education with the children in the village and he set up a youth club that focused on gender issues in the community. He encouraged the youth club members to help build a community garden (40 sq. m), and they each raised $20 to help fund it.

Sadly the garden didn’t work that well as hoped as it was far from water and built on bad soil but this taught the children a valuable lesson: to research beforehand and find a plot in a good location near water. It also helped government extension workers introduce the concept of “drip water feeding and how to make organic fertilizer at home” .

Buntha gained more than he could hope for as a volunteer, he fully gave himself to his community and country and formed a deep connection with the commune.

“Life wasn’t easy in the community and to get things done I had to use lots of skills such as mediation and negotiation to help people understand my ideas. The community didn’t understand my point of view at first and didn’t understand the concept of volunteerism or the value. The recall training (after 6 months of service) that Youth Star provided me helped a lot and provided a great deal of support with reporting and planning”

“After I finished with Youth Star I got a job with the Government straight away. The training I received from Youth Star gave me the confidence and commitment to succeed in the community and in my current role”.