My name is Phallen Kuch and I am 21 years old. I come from Kampong Cham province, which is one of the most beautiful places in Cambodia. I am the first child in a family of six. My parents are farmers who work very hard to support us.
When they cannot earn enough money to support us, they try hard to find other jobs. When I was in high school, my mother told me the bad news that I might not be able to study at university because she would not be able to support me. She wanted me to help with her work so that it would not be so hard for her. However, I was concerned since I didn’t want to drop out of school, and promised myself that I would pursue my education.
When I finished high school in 2016, I passed the Chevening internship program supported by British Embassy of Cambodia. Through this, I got the chance to progress to study a degree at university. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the scholarship programme of the Advanced Centre for Empowerment (ACE) and decided to apply. I was delighted to be chosen as one of its residents.
Since then, my life has changed considerably. Here I am given the chance to build up my knowledge and important skills. I was offered a scholarship to study English at the Australian Centre for Education, one of the best private English schools in Phnom Penh. In addition, I volunteer at ACE, allowing me to serve the community as I did at the Khmer Youth Association (KYA) during high school. ACE provides me with comfortable accommodation and is also a place where I am able to gain some of the life skills that I did not learn at school. The lessons and training taught me how to work well with a team, be a leader and be a reliable and organized person. Furthermore, I have learned to save money and have been able to practice my leadership, management and communication skills. One of the most important aspects of ACE is that we are living together as a tight-knit second family. I have been practicing my English with our residents and our volunteers who come from overseas.
Currently, I volunteer as an assistant English teacher at one of ACE’s projects. I have learned a lot of skills from this volunteering work, such as how to treat children well and help the community with its problems. Before I came here, I never really thought about children, but I have realized that I enjoy teaching them. Moreover, it stimulates me to love them more. I really adore sharing my knowledge and experiences with the children and youths. I hope that my goal will come true and a bright future for my society will be realized.