Khmer is my favourite subject

Nary is a very shy Grade 3 MLE student at Seung Primary School in Ratanak Kiri. She likes learning both Khmer and Tampuen and knows both languages will be valuable to her when she is an adult. In fact she would like to be a translator – in English – when she grows up.

Nary’s story in her own words:


I’m 13 years old and I’m in Grade 3. There are five people in my family – my two younger sisters, my parents and me.


Every day I wake up early and cook breakfast. If my sisters have slept in I wake them and remind them to go to school. After school I help my parents clear the bush and cut the grass in the fields, and I help with the cooking and the dishes.


Khmer is my favourite subject and my mother tongue Tampuen is my second favourite. I love the beautiful sounds of the languages when I read them out loud. Going to school helps me learn to read and write and when I grow up this will help me to find a job like some other people I know. My dad can read and write, and my mum can a little bit.


I love learning both languages because my own language is very important to me, and it’s also important to know Khmer. My Khmer is a bit better now than before I started school, and if I don’t understand some words I just ask my teacher in Tampuen.


Teacher Bao is a good teacher and he always encourages me to focus. He motivates me to ask questions and it’s good he speaks Tampuen because if I don’t understand something in Khmer I can ask him in Tampuen. I know him, he’s from my community and this is important. If he didn’t speak Tampuen it wouldn’t be good.


My teacher always asks us what we want to be when we grow up. Most of the boys say they want to be mechanics and fix motorbikes. My biggest goal would be to be a teacher or an English translator. I notice that whenever the aid workers like you come to visit, someone always needs to translate and that seems like a good job. It’s inspiring. No one in my village really knows English so I want to go to the bigger towns when I’m older and do English classes. My hope is to graduate, get a job and earn money to support my family, especially in case someone gets sick.


Quotes from Teacher Bao:

Nary always pays attention in class. She is never absent and will be a good citizen in the future. Whenever I give a test she scores great results and works faster than others. She always scores 80 – 90% on tests.

*Name has been changed in accordance with CARE's child protection policy.

Learn more about CARE Cambodia's efforts to empower ethnic minority girls through education >

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CARE is an international development organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring sustainable changes to their communities. 

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