Rany is nine years old and she’s in Grade 3. She lives with her parents and brother in a house right behind her school. She is a beneficiary of CARE’s Education for Ethnic Minorities program and is learning in two languages, Kreung, and the national language, Khmer. Her father went to a school that only taught in Khmer and says “compared to Rany, I started from zero”.
Rany’s story in her own words:
I’m nine and I’m in Grade 3. I live with my parents and my brother. When I get up in the morning I pack up my bed, wash my face, tie my hair and take my bag to school. My house is just behind the school.
I come to school because I want to know how to read and write. I like learning Khmer because when people come from outside the village I can talk to them. I want to go outside my village because I see other people going outside, and some become doctors or teachers or police officers.
My teacher Chorvey speaks Khmer really well. In some subjects she speaks Khmer and in some she speaks Kreung, She helps me read and write and when I have a question she helps me. She’s a good teacher and everyone likes her.
Our school books teach us about Kreung things like weaving. We learn songs in Kreung. One is called Always Clean and it’s about keeping clean and brushing our teeth.
I want to be a primary school teacher because I want to help other people to learn and get a job. To be a teacher I’ll have to study hard. Teacher Chorvey is my role model because she’s kind and gentle and when we make a mistake she never blames us. My parents went to school. They’re happy I come to school and they buy me the things I need. Also I have friends at school who want me to come.
Quotes from Sabeou, Rany’s father(37): I’m happy my daughter goes to school and if possible I’d like her to get a job when she’s older. I will support Rany to get an education no matter what it takes.
Learning in both languages is very important for Rany to achieve her goals and go on to high school. It’s important for preserving our culture and teaching the children to read and write in their own language.
What they learn at school is a link to the culture at home and the Kreung way of doing things.
When I was a child, the school was so far away, and it was only in Khmer. My family was poor and sometimes I had no food to take with me to school. I had lost opportunities because of this. Compared to Rany I started from zero.
Quotes from Chorvey, Rany’s teacher (teacher case study also available): Rany has a very serious attitude and she really wants to be a teacher. My students say they want to be teachers, doctors, police officers and accountants.
In the past we thought it was only Khmer people who could do these things but now we see that Kreung people can do all these jobs. Some of them go to so much effort in class so that they can achieve these dreams. Some ask me what it’s like to be a teacher and how they can become one. There’s no perfect way to support a student but I advise them and teach them as best as I can.
*Name has been changed in accordance with CARE's child protection policy.