My name is Son Sotheary. I’m 19 years old and was born on January 1st, 2003. I’m from Stung Treng and currently in my third year, studying Linguistics, at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. I’m the oldest child in my family with one brother and one sister. We were raised by a single mother as my father passed away when I was in grade 1, my brother was in kindergarten, and my little sister was 10 months old.
I am from a poor family. We lived in a difficult situation, facing a lot of dilemmas since our dad died. My mum had to find a job or sell something to support the family, and our food was lacking. I also had to find a part-time job to do at night after school to feed myself like working as a waitress, cleaner, or seller. Even though it was hard work, it was meaningful. My mum works very hard to support our family, and she still sends my siblings and I to school without hesitation. She encourages us to study hard to get a good job in the future so we won’t have to struggle like her. To me, my mum is the best mother ever. She is a good example that I would like to follow when I become a wife or a mother. She is smart, diligent, helpful, kind, honest, beautiful, and hard working. I feel so lucky to have her in my life. Even though we are poor, my mum still sends me to study in the university in Phnom Penh.
I came to ACE on the 19th of December 2020. The first day I came here I was very surprised at how welcoming and friendly everyone was, just like a family. Through ACE, I volunteer to teach Ponlork Trampieng Centre in the slum community every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. On the weekends I go to Ru Di Boa Centre to teach as well. In the afternoon I go to university. Normally, after dinner, we have a class on Wednesday and Friday, and on other days sometimes we have meetings together. We also have community programs such as porridge for hope, community clean ups, health check-ups, and more.
Moreover, with ACE, I am experiencing new things and learning invaluable skills through workshops on topics such as Leadership and Communication. I also have the opportunity to help children in struggling communities. ACE empowers students like me by giving us access to all that we wanted but could not afford. If I couldn’t attend ACE, I would have to drop out of school. Finally, I would like to thank ACE for giving me an opportunity to experience new things and learn many skills in my life.