Channy* is 15 years old and she comes from a big family with three brothers and two sisters. She is from the Kreung ethnic minority and her parents are farmers.
She has been staying at the Ban Lung dormitory high school in Ratanak Kiri for 2 years. Her class has 49 students including 22 female students.
"My dormitory room is a bit jammed with 14 students living together. However, I have promised myself that I would commit to learning until I graduate from high school,” she says. "I have received a scholarship from CARE for the last two years.
"CARE established a multilingual education school in my village. I studied at my village school until I graduated from grade 6. And then I continued my studies at grade 7 at the secondary school. I was fortunate and got selected as a scholarship student. My parents and I were very happy about this news. My parents are poor and cannot afford to support secondary education for their children. My scholarship helps them to ease that burden.
"CARE not only provides me with this scholarship but they established the primary multilingual school in my village, so that the children in my village could have a chance to learn. I am very happy about this and I want to be a teacher in the future, so that I can help the children in my village learn better.
"Although the distance from home to school is 22 kilometres, I have committed to learn until I graduate from high school. Some of my friends have stopped learning because they do not have enough money to support their study, but I do not want to quit like them. I want to be a knowledgeable person. My favorite subjects are mathematics, Khmer literature and biology because the teachers are friendly, sociable and committed to their work as teachers.
"The way of learning in primary school is different from lower secondary school. In primary school, my teachers speak my home language from grade 1 to 3 so I could understand it and from 4 to 6 teachers speak the Khmer language, but help to explain sometimes in the home as well. But at lower secondary school, the teachers are all Khmer teachers and they speak the national language only.
"I sometimes feel bored, however, I have overcome this by focusing on the explanation of the teachers and if I still do not understand, I ask them for more explanation at the end of the session. Sometimes, I ask support from my friends to help me until I am clear. I am committed to studying hard.
"This scholarship has helped me a lot. It saves time organising food when I finish class. The scholarship has improved my learning results. The scholarship does not only support me the food but also my learning materials and uniform.
These activities are part of the Education for Ethnic Minorities project, which is supported by the Australian Government and many other private donors.
*Names have been changed to protect idenities.