Klay Narng Deung* is 16 years old and is attending grade 8 at a lower secondary school in the north-eastern province of Cambodia. Deung comes from a big Kreung farming family with three brothers and three sisters where she is the fourth of six children in her family. The family is poor.
Nowadays, Deung is staying in a high school dormitory at Banlung in Ratanak Kiri as she is currently a scholarship recipient from CARE and she is very happy about this. Deung has been awarded a scholarship for two consecutive years from CARE. This due to the results of her good performance in study.
She said: "Even though I get a fairly good grade, I am so very happy because the most important thing is that I am educated. I have my goal to become a teacher; I like this job because it allows me to share my knowledge, and experiences with the next generation. Also, I hope my family will have a better standard of living.”
Deung also used to be a student of Multilingual Education in primary school, which is a part of CARE's program in the north-east. This education is also a factor that has enabled her to stay in school and continue her study until secondary school.
“I think multilingual education is important in communicating with teachers and improving my understanding and making me learn the lessons well. It is far better than using just Khmer language,” She says, "classrooms that use only Khmer language are hard to learn and difficult to understand for those who do not speak and understand Khmer”.
With the current financial situation in her family, Deung believes that CARE’s scholarship program is very important and the main reason she can remain in school.
She claimed that: "it can help me with my study, and solve my family's struggle with expenditure. My parents do not spend much on my education."
Her parents are also happy to know that she has been awarded a scholarship from CARE, they believed that through this scholarship, Deung has the opportunity to reach her goals in the future.
Deung said: “education is good for everyone because it makes people have good morals, good knowledge, gain capacity to differentiate good and bad, understand what you should do and should not do, shape good behaviour, and respect for others. Those who are not or less educated, most of them in the future will not get a good job [in an office], only farming.”
In her school, students can learn computes and use tablets for self-study, if there is any questions, students can search for the answers by themselves. Particularly on her expenditure on her education, she shares her techniques to manage her expenses: “I have to checklist all necessary things. I need to think about what it takes to buy enough food, to save money, to buy food that can keep for a long, and buy only necessary things such as vegetables, and avoid spending on unnecessary things".
“I want our society to be prosperous, well developed, well rounded, filled with people who have knowledge, educated and peaceful,” Deung said, “I don’t want to hear people say indigenous people are uneducated, unemployed, foolish and do nothing other than just farming; I would like to thank CARE for this scholarship opportunity that allows me to challenge this attitude.”
CARE also offers scholarships to students like Deung with support from Australian Government and range of private donors. This program is implemented by CARE Cambodia in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
* Names have been changed to protect identities.