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Our Stories

All our girls come from rural villages around Cambodia and each one comes with a story of hurdles to overcome to continue their education. Though these stories may be similar they all have their own hopes and dreams. This is where you can learn more about the lives of our BambooShoot Girls. 

Chhuo Aly

Aly comes from Angkor Chum village and is the youngest of seven children. Of the seven kids in the family only three, including Aly, have been able to obtain additional education. As if hurdles for girls to obtain higher learning are not difficult enough, the villagers discouraged Aly’s parents from sending her to school. It is admirable that her mother and father ignored this advice desiring an easier life for her. As farmers in Angkor Chum they understand how tough life can be. This is not always the case for girls and Aly is among the lucky to have had the opportunity to move on.

She started in the NGO2 program in 2012. Even in the rural communities that do have High Schools there is a lack of teachers and they stick to a Khmer curriculum. Aly believed she would obtain a better education and exposure to English if she attended Angkor High School through NGO2.

After she graduated in 2015, she spent time volunteering as an English teacher and in hospital registration. Aly has gone on to obtain a scholarship for Business Administration at Paññāsāstra University. Her scholarship funds have come from an educational social enterprise called Project Y. This University student run business incubator allows the students to rotate through six different business departments to gain hands on experience in an actual business.

All of this is a perfect fit for Aly as her dreams are to be a business owner. She would like to import goods from other Countries to sell here in Cambodia. Aly has two years remaining in University but plans to start applying for jobs next year to gain more experience and income. She would like to be able to go back to Angkor Chum and “inspire girls from my village”.  She is passionate about being her own boss and learning all aspects of business.

Aly’s brother is about to graduate University with a degree in International Relations and her sister graduated with an accounting degree. Her other brothers and sisters are farmers in her village. Aly’s parents were not able to send all their children onto higher learning but were committed and brave enough to send three. Believe Aly will make the most of her opportunity and we will stay posted in what she does next.

Chhoeung Navy

 Navy was born in Angkor Chum village to a family of seven brothers and sisters. Her father died before she was a year old leaving her mother to care for all her children on her own. When Navy was 10, her mother passed away as well leaving this large family without parents and lots of mouths to feed.

Her older sister helped to look after everyone but there was very little money. Navy’s entrepreneurial spirit started at this young age as a way to survive. She started selling cakes and fruit at the local pagoda and during festivals to make money for herself. It is a testament to her desire to learn that she stayed in school during these years.

As she reached 9th grade her teacher, who knew of NGO2, told her if she scored well on her final exams, she could obtain support to go on to high school. The closest high school to her was 15 km away making attending close to home nearly impossible. She had always been a good student, but she dedicated herself to scoring high on her exams for the opportunity to continue her studies and her dream to be a doctor.

In 2010 she was accepted to the NGO2 BambooShoot program and started attending Angkor High School. Navy found another family with her BambooShoot sisters as she says, “We worked, ate, slept and studied together”. She continued selling cakes while at school and during vacation for extra money. At the end of her high school years she received a scholarship to continue her dream to be a doctor. But without funding to support herself for the time it would take to obtain her Doctorate she was forced to relinquish that dream and chose to attend teacher training.

Navy graduated from teacher training in 2015 and has been teaching at Banteay Srei Primary School. Her dreams have changed a bit but her dedication to learning and improving has not. She is currently attending English classes at Build Bright University with the hopes of taking the National Institute of Education test next year so she may teach at the High School level. She has also utilized her entrepreneurial skills and branched out in a real estate group, buying and selling land. In addition, she has also opened a coffee shop with a business group. Navy plans to continue in the real estate business in the future.

It is worth noting that of all her siblings only two brothers and herself have gone on to higher learning, one brother to University and the youngest brother getting ready to graduate High School. The rest of her family still lives in the village she came from. Navy is presently also helping to support her younger brother and her nephew. She continues to show the same grit and dedicated to her present job as she did when she was struggling without parents. She believes as a teacher she can “Share my knowledge and teach leadership to the next generation”.

Navy is certain without NGO2’s help she would have continued to study. But she is conscious of how difficult that struggle would have been for her. She is bright, committed and a determined young woman. She is evidence of the strength and resolve of the girls that are part of the NGO2 program. We expect to continue to hear great things about Navy in the future.

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