“I am the only person in my family to reach secondary school”
Bunsum, 20, is from the Brou ethnic minority and is a student at secondary school in a very remote area of Cambodia. Bunsum is proud to be the only person in his family to finish primary school. However, this has not been an easy journey.
Bunsum used to live far from school and needed to travel by boat every day to get to school. This was especially difficult during the rainy season when he needed to keep his books dry. Rather than drop out, he was fortunate to secure a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport. This allowed him to live in a boarding house beside the school which was built by CARE in 2015. “I am happy to be living in the boarding house because it’s close to the school and I don’t need to make the long journey every day,” says Bunsum.
“I feel happy that I am able to attend school every day,” he continues. “My older siblings had to drop out in grade 4-5 because there were no secondary schools nearby.”
In the past two years of living in the boarding house Bunsum has continued to enjoy school and has been keeping his grades consistent. There are many students from minority communities at his school and CARE has worked with the teachers to help them ensure every student is supported to achieve their full potential.
“My favourite subjects are History and Khmer. Khmer is not the language we speak at home so I am glad that my teachers are understanding that Khmer is my second language; they are happy to repeat things.” Bunsum’s continued studies mean he can aspire to career options which were not possible for his siblings. “I am the only person in my family to reach secondary school; I want to become a policeman in the future.”
These activities are part of the Education for Ethnic Minorities project, which is supported by the Australian Government, and many other private donors.
CARE also offers scholarships to students like Bunsum with support from a range of private donors.