Sor SametSamet, 26 from Takeo, has been working at Youth Star in Kampong Trabek distirct, Prey Veng province since August 2012.

Samat studied Rural Agriculture at the University of Pannasastra and graduated in 2011.

He found it difficult to get a job when he graduated as perspective employers said he lacked experience.

Samet was attracted to Youth Star because of its unique vision and mission and he thought it might provide an opportunity to improve his life and help him gain valuable skills in order to enable him to have a better chance of getting a good job in the future.

Samet wanted to go to a rural community to learn from the local people and also share his knowledge and experience with them. He really wanted to help the children in the community with their schooling.

It was hard at first as he felt isolated when he arrived there, he didn’t know anyone and didn’t get much support initially from the community. Due to his disability some community members felt he wouldn’t be able to effectively carry out his assignment.

Samet refused to quit, and remembered what he learned from his Youth Star pre-departure training and proactively started to address the problem himself.

First he visited each home in the community, undertook a census and mapped out issues in the community. Then he created a youth club and now youth club members are active participants in the “Good Man Campaign”. This campaign aims to change male attitudes, though teaching non-violent communication, towards women and aims to ensure everyone knows domestic violence is a crime.

Before Samet became a volunteer he never expected it would be so hard to work in a community! He was challenged to realize his commitment to in tangible terms and now he is very happy and really enjoys teaching the young children in the community.

Samet feels he has become a lot more confident in his abilities and he sees a big change in community’s attitudes, especially the children who tested him a lot and didn’t take education seriously at first. He is proud of himself for fighting for education and improving his life and the life chances of poorer children. When he finishes his assignment in July 2013 he wants to set up his own Centre of Education for All (CEFA).

“I have noticed a big change, the local authorities have changed their attitudes towards me and I get respect from all these people. In working for the Good Men Project: I feel part of the leadership in the community now, and people are proud of me for this. Now the commune recognises me as a good educator, making achievements.
I’m very proud to be volunteer, I have encouraged children to be volunteers in the community, and this ideology has spread to the youth clubs as well”.