This is the story of a resilient young woman who has overcome poverty and the loss of her parents. She tells her story in her own words.
“My name is Breng Phary* and I had 7 siblings. Two siblings died because of sickness. I was the youngest. My mother died because of sickness too when I was very young.
After my mother died, my father was responsible for supporting my family. He earned money by planting rice for my neighbors. My oldest sister decided to stop studying because she saw my father was getting old. She went to work in Phnom Pehn. My family situation was getting worse from day to day. All my siblings stopped studying. My second oldest sister went to work in Phnom Pehn. My third brother went to be a monk and my fourth brother was hired to plant rice or look after cows and buffalos.
I was the youngest so they left me to stay with my old father. In my free time I helped my father to grow vegetables, and caught fish, crabs, snails and tamarind leaves to sell. With the money I earned I bought food and books. After a while I found that I could not study anymore because I was always worried about my father. My siblings sent some money to my father and sent him to the hospital. I lived alone. After school I cooked then I borrowed my neighbor’s bike to visit my father in the hospital. After he ate I said goodbye to him, then I rode home.
In Khmer New Year 2007 my father’s sickness was serious. He died.
I felt lonely and I did not know what to do. I thought I would find work to do to support myself. But there was a kind neighbor who told me that he wants me to continue to study. He had a niece who works in an organization that helps children. He contacted her and asked me to live there so that I could continue my study.
That’s how I came to live at live in Mekhala House (the home run by Cambodian Kids Can). I was not happy at first because I could not study as well as the other children here. But during school holiday the staff prepared a schedule for me to study more. After that I felt that I really wanted to study. In my free time I always brought the books in grade 3 back from school to read and learn more.
Finally, I would like to say thank you very much to all mommies, daddies, uncles, aunts in Australia and Cambodia that try to help me, give me good advice, and especially they encourage me to try to study hard. They teach me to set my goals. In the future I want to be a doctor. I remembered the days that I visited my father in the hospital. I saw a lot of patients including young children and old people so that I really want to help them. I hope I can real my goal because of all your support.
Thank you all that you reading my story.”
* note all girls names changed to protect their identity