Samdan Village, Cambodia
My name is HOV Socheat, I am 18 and a Cook student at Sala Baï.
I am from Samdan village, Peaksnang Commune, Angkor Thom district, Siem Reap Province, actually at 2 hours and a half bicycle from Siem Reap!
My father left us when I was still a baby. My mother went to stay with her parents. My grand-mother died when I was 3 and my mother remarried when I was ten. She left me to live alone with my grandfather who is now 77, poor and sick.
Because of his poverty, my grandfather was not able to support me. My aunt, my mother’s sister supported the fees for primary school and would bring food to us. Then I attended Angkor Thom High School run by the NGO Hope and Life. We were more than 200 students to be supported with schooling, breakfast and lunch every day from 7th till 9th grade. I finished 9th grade.
To bring a little money home, I would miss school and work as a day-worker to grow potatoes and dig them up and plant or harvest rice. I would make 9000 riels a day. Quite a nice amount because we worked as a team for the potatoes. The more we would dig up, the more we would be paid.
It is not always easy to live with my grandfather, but he is nice. I see my mother sometimes, I have three half sisters that I see sometimes as well but they all live in another village.
My life is so different here at Sala Baï. No one has ever paid attention to me at home. Here I have many friends and all the teachers look after me.
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