Hello everyone, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Thida Tep and I am 23 years old. I grew up in a remote countryside village in Kep Province and lived there until I came to the capital. I was born to a family of thirteen children in Chamcarbei, a former Khmer Rough stronghold, and my parents work very hard to feed the family.
My mother was a farmer and passed away when I was two years old. Since then, I have lived with my stepfather. My parents grow rice during the rainy season and sell Khmer noodles in a small market during the dry season.
Although they earn little, they are able to send all of my brothers and sisters to school. After I graduated from secondary school, I was eager to pursue my studies at high school. However, my parents couldn’t financially support me since they needed to support my older brothers and sisters through their education too. I was asked to give up my studies to assist my parents with their work at home. During that time, I decided to apply for a full-time job as a receptionist at the Vineretreat Guesthouse near my house and worked there for around 3 years. By doing this I could help myself and support my family too.
In 2015, I had the chance to enroll in high school again. I passed my national exams in 2016 and I now study Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Cambodian Mekong University in Phnom Penh. In the future, I would like to be a successful hotel manager. I also hope to come back to develop my entire community, my province and the whole country. When I moved to Phnom Penh to pursue higher education, I found that it was not easy to get used to city life. I could barely find a safe place to stay. Fortunately, I received some advice from my brother, who used to be an ACE resident. I quickly applied for a dormitory scholarship from ACE. I was thrilled when I received the scholarship.
Since moving into the ACE Dormitory and Leadership Training Centre (DLTC), I have learned how to build good relationships with others, develop my self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-motivation, and be a flexible person. I believe that these skills will help me to become a professional and effective leader in the future. In addition, I have the opportunity to make progress in my studies at university, have comfortable accommodation and be able to study leadership in action for a year. Moreover, I was fortunate enough to be granted a scholarship to study English at the Australian Centre for Education in Phnom Penh. I have benefited a great deal from this course. I was also happy that I could work in the office. I was taught how to use a computer and now I am a trainee English teacher and part-time staff member at the Young Leaders Centre, which is one of ACE’s projects. During my time in this position, I have gained lots of experience in working with children, such as how to manage and teach students.
In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to all of the members of the Advanced Centre for Empowerment (ACE), who continue to spend their precious time and energy to support underprivileged students in Cambodia, giving us the chance to be educated and have a bright and wonderful future. Your support means so much to us! I would also like to thank my teacher, Mr. Sokchea, who has given me a wonderful opportunity by letting me stay at ACE. Without him, I would probably not have met all of these lovely people and I would not have believed that dreams do come true if we are strongly committed! Lastly, I am very grateful to everybody at ACE who has welcomed me with incredible compassion; they have helped me and given me so much support.