You Souleang is my name. I’m from the Kandal province. In 2020, I graduated from Hun Sen Kampong Phnom High School. I am currently pursuing my studies in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the Royal University of Law and Economics. I have chosen to major in law. I now live and work at an organization called the Advanced Center for Empowerment (ACE). Before coming to study in Phnom Penh, I had some difficulties in my life while studying. Especially when COVID-19 was widely spreading during the examination year, at a time when my family was facing serious financial difficulties. My family are sellers, and when these problem arose, my family sold everything at its lowest price. The COVID-19 virus was rapidly spreading. My family did not allow me to leave the house. They decided to let me skip school for a while in order to assist with any of their projects; they couldn’t afford to send me to go outside to study. One reason is that most of the villagers there sent their children to work in factories and shops because they believe that going to study in Phnom Penh would be too expensive. This is what they believe (my neighbor told my parents something like this).
My friend suggested that we stop studying and go to work in a factory together. I didn’t go because I had to have self-study at home. At the time, I lamented the fact that my friends went to work, had money, and appeared to be able to help their families, whereas I was still at home and couldn’t do any thing. At the time, I wondered if I could continue my dream if I stopped studying. I’ve always wanted to study law since I was a kid. I want to study social sciences because I want to help people. This is what I intend to do. I couldn’t stop studying because I had dreams and goals, and I told my family about it; they weren’t happy, but my relatives helped explain it to my parents. They wouldn’t allow me to study in Phnom Penh because it was too expensive to rent a house and they were concerned about my safety. Then I resolved to apply for scholarships, find safe housing, and expand my knowledge. Then I found the Advanced Center for Empowerment (ACE) scholarship to recruit students and provide accommodation while they study in Phnom Penh, I applied right away. I now have successfully resumed my studies in Phnom Penh; my family is very pleased, and I am extremely proud of myself for achieving both my initial goal and my goal of attending university.
I’m grateful to ACE for picking me and helping me pursue both my academic goals and my aspirations. I felt incredibly happy and thrilled. We reside together and I think of ACE as my second family; you guys are my friends. Additionally, ACE offers leadership development, practical experience, problem-solving skills, and community living. As I get to know the locals, I learn how to share pleasure with them.