Meet Our Residents:

Koun Channy


My name is KOUN Channy.  I am 18 years old and from​ a poor farming family. I was born in Prey Tayon village, Pong Teuk district, and Svay Rieng province. I am a year three student studying Biology at Royal Phnom Penh University. In my family, there are 5 members comprised of my 2 siblings and myself, the first child. While growing up, I think I was luckier than other children because my parents gave me an opportunity to study.

While in primary school, I walked to school because I did not have any transportation, not even a bike. Thus, my parents did not have enough time for me and I was going to school with my uncle who was bringing his child to school everyday. After I finished primary school and secondary school, I pursued high school. During that time, I did not have money to buy snacks or lunch to eat at school like others. Nevertheless, I would wake up early in the morning and cook meals to bring to school everyday. But sometimes, I had to eat alone while all my classmates were eating out. In the countryside, being a high school graduate is enough, but for me it’s not enough because I want to follow my dreams and discover new things that I have never encountered before. Only learning in the class is not good, you learn only theory but not practice. When I first came to high school, my first and foremost aim was striving to pass the exam. And then I had to ask my family to pursue my study in Phnom Penh city. But my parents did not allow this for four reasons. Firstly, we were just farmers and did not have much money. Secondly, Phnom Penh was far away from our hometown and there are a lot of people and various risks out there. Thirdly, they thought there would be no security for me in Phnom Penh. Fourthly, I was just a young girl, I was aware of nothing. So, they were worried about my living condition, where could I find something to eat, who would care for me when I got sick…etc.

However, I never abandoned my dream. I started looking for scholarships in Phnom Penh. I found an Channyorganization called Advanced Centre for Empowerment (ACE) which provides accommodation, education, training courses, and working experiences. I was impressed so I applied and was accepted. My parents were so delighted and allowed me to study in Phnom Penh. But before I came to study at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, I had promised myself that I would get a grade A on my exams. This aim was useless because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, eliminated the exam and announced that all the students pass the exam. I was unable to see the results of all my efforts over the past 12 years. Before I came to Phnom Penh, I organized plans, step by step, because I thought my life as a university student would not be easy. We will encounter a lot of troubles and we have to prepare and be ready to troubleshoot as well. When departing from family, we think we will have independence but it is not the same as we thought. Yes, we have independence but if we are unable to use it properly, our futures will never be successful. Therefore, our futures are determined by us.

channy2After I finish 4 years studying Biology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, I hope to achieve my dream of becoming a biology teacher in higher education one day. When I become successful, I will turn my focus on helping my family and my community. In order to gain success, I have determined to strive to study no matter the situation. I allot time for learning and for working at Advanced Centre for Empowerment (ACE) sincerely. Since staying at ACE, I have gained a lot of knowledge that I’m able to use in my life. Using this knowledge to assist the community like teaching young children in the slums around Phnom Penh. On the other hand, I am more aware of myself. I have learned how to generate opportunities rather than waiting for an opportunity to come. At Advanced Centre for Empowerment, I have comfort and security while gaining life skills, work experiences, and building networks.

In summary, I will transform myself from just a normal young girl into a precious diamond that the people photo1679373087(5)demand. I will use the knowledge that I have to make changes within different sectors of society, especially education, to help the nation grow progressively. I would like to thank the Advanced Centre for Empowerment for choosing me to be a resident in the dormitory and for providing me with the opportunity to pursue my studies at the university. And thank you for giving me the chance to explore and adapt to something new. I now know who am I. What do I like? What am I doing now? What is my goal? How do I achieve it? All these things the Advanced Centre for Empowerment gave me.

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