Champei never went to school when she was young. Her family had no money to buy pens, books, pencils her uniform or the fees. She was on the poverty line in rural Cambodia. She had to try and fund her own education. As she says, “My mother made me stop studying because she didn’t’ have money to pay for me. I went to find fish to sell and earn money to buy something to study. I still did not study like other children and I found vegetables to sell to help me study more.”
She left her rural home with her sister to work in Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia where she found a job shovelling sand . she earned less than a dollar a day . Champei was struggling and her sister paid for her to return to her rural home where she looked after cows and begun to earn nearly $2 a day.
Champei had lived through all of this and she was only 11 years old.
In 2007 Champei was recommended by the local community to live at Mekhala House and even though she didn’t’ know anyone and was worried she left her home to study. She is now in Grade 9 and has dreams like every child should. “When I grow up I want to become a football teacher, so now I must to study hard for my future.”
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*Name changed to protect the identities of the children