Nai Chanthou is a 17-year-old girl living in Orboun village, Koh Nheak district, Mondolkiri province. Chanthou has 3 siblings and she is the first child in the family. Her father, Nhoeng Nai, is a Phnong minority farmer. Chanthou’s mother, Kheang Cha, 40 year-olds is a cleaner at the health center located in the Sok San secondary school, Koh Nheak district.
When Chanthou was in grade 5, she had no transportation so she asked for a ride with her friend because the school is 10 km away from her home. Her performance at school was below satisfaction because the curriculum in school alone did not help her improve. Moreover, she had to help her mother at the health center, did household chores, and took care of her siblings after class. During the rainy season, the infrastructure from her home to school was inconvenient that she could not attend class regularly.
The household income of Chanthou’s family at that time was only 50 UD Dollars per month which was not sufficient even to fulfill the daily basic need. Chanthou’s parents sometimes had arguments due to inadequate income. “I plan to drop out of school after completing grade 5. I don’t want to study anymore when my family could hardly survive”, says Chanthou.
In 2016, Good Neighbors Cambodia introduced the Scholarship for Vulnerable Girls Project based in Koh Nheak Community Development Program to improve the transition rate of vulnerable girls in remote areas from lower secondary school to higher education. Chanthou and her family were aware of the information from the school principal and joined the scholarship orientation during the school enrollment day.
“When I know that I am selected for the scholarship program, I am delighted and see my future in a different way”, says Chanthou.
Chanthou was in grade 6 when she first offered a scholarship. Currently, she is in grade 10 at Hun Sen Koh Nheak high school which is 13 km away from her home. With a smile, Chanthou says “I have two dreams, I want to be a teacher and interpreter. Before, I have never thought I would achieve one of my dreams, but seeing myself today I think I can make it.”
Mrs. Kheang Cha, Chanthou’s mother adds that “My child used to be shy, inactive and unable to read or do basic mathematics. But now, she makes me proud of her positive changes. I will work hard to support my daughter reaching her dream because now I see the possibility ahead.”
By 2019, the scholarship for vulnerable girls’ projects has helped 110 girl students pursuing their education through the support of study materials, school uniforms, transportation means, accommodation, and the operation of the extra-class curriculum to students.