Sopheak2Trach Village is located in Kampong Chen Chueng Commune, Stoung District, Kampong Thom Province. In the past, this village was set up in a wide field. The houses were dispersed, located far from one another. There were many wild animals and dense forest. Later, due to the logging and land encroachment conducted by the powerful people, the local authority moved the village to the current location, along national road No. 6. The total population of Kampong Chen Chueng Commune is 7,740 (3,539 are female), 90% of them are farmers and the rest are social workers. 99% follow Buddhism and only 1% are Christian. Most residents in this rural community are not highly educated, they do however, value and respect those with knowledge and education and are highly moral.

Prior to my service here, some children were forced by their parents to drop out of school when they finished primary education. Despite the efforts of school principals and teachers, some parents still decided to stop their children’s education. As a Youth Star volunteer, I committed to contribute to positive change by carrying out the following activities:

  • Community mapping
  • Enrollment campaign
  • Urging people to get birth certificate
  • Searching for out-of-school children (OSC)
  • Visiting and intervening OSC and urging them to return to school
  • Conducting reading sessions
  • Establishing and maintaining youth club

My hard work paid off and the results are beyond my expectation. I arrived this rural community on 18th August 2015. I spent some time going to the fields where the school dropouts looked after their cows. Then I asked and inspired them to return to school. I provided different examples and reasons for them to consider, helping them make a decision whether or not to return to their studies. I also started teaching English, setting up a children’s comedy team and organizing an enrollment campaign. All those activities really effected the decisions of the OSC. As a result, 9 children showed up and re-enrolled, some came by their own and some accompanied by parents. I have observed that educational perspective has changed in this community, not only the students themselves but also parents. It all started with their willingness to build local library, to read and borrow books for their children and urging their children to come to school…etc.  Since the commencement of my intervention, 37 over-aged children and 15 OCS re-enrolled at school.