2017/2018 Yearly Reflection

I often find myself in Meg Murry’s situation, the main character girl in Madeleine L’Engle’s science fantasy novel: A Wrinkle in Time.

Not that I am in her position because I was traveled by a tesseract to rescue my father and brother from this obscure planet, Camazotz, or anything, but it because of the way that she defines herself.

“Maybe I don’t like being different, but I don’t want to be like everyone else, either.”

This single statement from Meg Murry had helped me to get a better insight into myself. It had changed my perspective that life isn’t just about being the same as others or trying to fit in, but it about understanding and accepting who I am. Truthfully, I had always underestimated my own ability to accomplish tasks. I give myself no chance of confronting my flaws. And these things keep happening to me over and over again sometimes it even shifted into a positive feedback loop.

It had been six years since I first enrolled in the Liger Leadership Academy—a school that provided a full scholarship to promising Cambodian children—and things couldn’t get any less easy for me being a high school student. An advanced placement class was taking. Homework was increasing. And college preparation was required. Everything was moving at a cheetah speed toward the next level, but the real question is, am I ready for it?

Do I have to be ready for it?

To grow as a change agent, I must learn to give myself the opportunity to cross the safe-zone line even though I was not preparing for it. Drug usage prevention project, also known as World Renew exploration, was a perfect example of me dealing with my distress. It challenged me to collaborate with students outside my school, World Renew organization, to educate villagers effectively about the adverse effect of illicit drugs.

The project was unprecedented since it was the first one that required me to convey my ideas in Khmer. It was a struggle in this project as I was not a talkative person and was always afraid to raise my voice. Though throughout the process, I keep pushing myself toward the danger zone to help myself thrive and help to run the project smoothly.

Throughout the project, we, I and the other Liger’s students, trained the World Renew’s students on how to use a computer, how to use a camera, how to direct a movie, and most importantly how to run a successful project. They fundamentally learned how to become a leader and how to work as a team. So, instead of directing them on what to do, we facilitated them on those experiences that will play a significant role in their future.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” (Quote by Lao Tzu)

It may seem to be a really minor change in their life with those experiences but I believe that because of a single brick was being placed that’s why there is a wall standing.

This project had not just created an impact on the World Renew’s students life but also in my life. I had successfully let myself out of the shell. I had chosen to fight the battle instead of hiding behind the bunker. I had chosen to face vulnerability instead of comfortability. This is who I am, the girl who believes in grit and in what her facilitator, Jeff, had said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

2016/2017 Yearly Reflection

You might not hear or know of Cambodia before, since it is such a small country located in the Southeast Asia region, bordering Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. I was born and raised here in Cambodia, a country in which used to have a remarkable history during the Angkor Empire, with rich nutrients and the great irrigation for the agriculture. We use to be “the diamond of Southeast Asia”. Though people had been suffered, losing their friends, family, and their life, from such a cruel time during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975 – 1979) – genocide. We had been losing our hope and ambitions from that brutal time. Our elders keep carrying those memories in their soul since it is unforgivable and unforgettable to them. Yet, today as our nation started to develop with the steadily growing economy, we are starting to stand back up and fight for the great future in front of us.

Health is a significant topic that we all cannot be miss out since it is the root cause of everything that we do. Have you ever heard of “anemia”? Did you know that this condition is affecting half of the world population and no one had noticed it?  It’s affecting to most of the Cambodian citizen as well, especially to those who are living in poverty. Iron deficiency is the one of and the most common anemia that causes the lack of iron in our red blood cells. When you are feeling dizzy or tired, you might not know why you got them, since it is pretty normal. These are some of the symptoms of the iron deficiency condition. Even myself had not known this fascinated topic before. In order to get a better understanding of this concept, we worked with Lucky Iron Fish company that aim in reducing iron deficiency condition in Cambodia and the whole world. To spread the word about it, we had done workshops at Siem Reap province in three different locations. I and the other students educated community people and the students in the organization about the cause of iron deficiency and the solution to it, which is the lucky iron fish. We distributed out a bunch of lucky iron fish to people for their family and teach them on how to use it and how to take care of it. Not just that we did workshops, but we also create the documentary about it to share to the world. Even though we can only focus on just a small amount of people, but I believe those people will spread the word about it. This little steps can really create change to the future. I’m so proud of myself that I have the ability to help my people with this issue even though it just a small one.

Helping people is really important, but helping yourself to understand and get a deep clear idea about your own country history is vital as well. The Khmer Rouge exploration had manipulated my perspective a lot. There are so many inputs that I’ve got from this exploration. During 1975 – 1979, my country had suffered from a Khmer Rouge regime, a time where our elders can’t forget and can’t forgive. Today 2017, even they don’t show those sorrow and anger, but I understand their’s feeling really well from visiting two memorial places, such as the S-21 prison, and Choeung Ek, the killing field. Both places provided an audio tour, which we can get a clear sense about the situation during that time. I got goosebump during the tour. The information, the voices, the images, are just so memorable and it just dives deep down into my soul. It was shocking for me to know all of the detail about the Khmer Rouge and the victims since I never get a deep understanding of it before. The cruel strategies that Khmer Rouge used for the country were just genius – evil. It was supposed to make the country a better place for everyone, but it went into the wrong path. It just……….. – I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t really describe my own feeling about it at all. This information is just kept pushing and encouraging me to keep moving forward and help my country for a better. I committed that I would never ever let my country to experience that brutal time ever again. Every single action that I take will always for my people not for my own good sake. It completely changes my mind about my country as I can see the big picture of it, as my people are living with the memory that is unforgettable. Born to be Cambodian, will always help Cambodia!

Generations through generations, time to time, day by day, we keep growing a bit by bit, step by step, and will never stop. We can start from failure, but we never will end up being a failure. This generation of our country always keeps pushing forward and that’s including me as well. We are shaping our country’s destiny to a better stage with little steps in creating positive change. I am a promising child in the Liger Leadership Academy (LLA) that had the potential to change my country future at a really young age. I am proud to be born as Cambodian. Thus, we are facing so many issues on our path, whether it is externally or internally for each individual Cambodian and the whole country. But, no matter what, we will stay strong and fight for the great future in front of us!


Minister Day

Taking picture with all the educators
Taking picture with all the educators

On the 12th January 2016, there was a group of educators in Cambodian government school (50 to 60) come to visit our school to see what we’re doing. We all divide in a small group to present to them from 8:30 to 12:30 pm. Each group has different things to present such as project-based-learning, recruitment, STEAM etc. There are six people in my group and we’re the one who need to tour them around our school. We all didn’t present at the same time, we divided into three smaller groups which are one girl and one boy. My partner and I had practiced many times to get comfortable with talking in Khmer to the educators, at school time usually we’re talking in English all day except in Khmer class. At first, I felt a little bit nervous but after I had practiced it many times with the Khmer staff, I felt a little bit better. When I toured the educators around the school campus, they asked lots of questions. Sometimes we had to do it fast because of the time. I felt really proud of myself that I have an opportunity to tour the people that work in the ministry.

2014/2015 Yearly Reflection

Cambodia is one of a developing country in Asia. So there would be many problems that could happen. I’m one of the Liger students that have a promise to help change my country. The first thing that I had change is about sanitation. As you know sanitation is very important to us. If we don’t have a good sanitation we easily to get sick. When we sick we can’t do anything.

The problem about sanitation that I had seen was that the people in my village they do the open defecation around there house and in the field. On one holiday when I went to my village I tried to think of the solution that can help them. The problem that could happen to them was that it not good for their family because it can give them disease and people around their house. So to make them have a good sanitation they need to have toilet. But the problem about toilet is that they don’t have enough money to build a toilet. In my house there was one toilet and my relative from other houses they also use it. So that mean we don’t have to spend lots of money to build the toilet in every houses. So that mean we just need one toilet in one house and three or four more houses that near can also use it. I also tell my family about the problem that I had seen and the solution that I had to my family. They also think like me. To make my solution occur I have to begin with telling my friends about the problem that I have seen and my solution. So when my friends go to there house they can tell there parents. The next holiday when I went to my village I saw some of the toilets in my village had built like the house that near my house they also built toilet.

So, building toilet gives us a lot of benefits. The first benefit is that we can use it for a long time. The second one is that it can make us have a good health. So anyway, build toilet is good for us, family, village, province, and the last one is good for our country.