Mana, 38, a mother of four living in Chbar Ampov, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and her family are students and beneficiaries of ISF’s Education Programme.
Due to illiteracy, Mana was unable to find a job outside the home and the task of financially providing for the family fell solely on her husband, a construction worker. Understanding her situation and wishing to provide the family with better opportunities, ISF’s social workers offered her a place on an adult literacy class. Mana jumped at the chance to be able to learn how to read and write – something she had always dreamed of learning.
After successfully completing the course and developing literacy skills Mana found employment on her doorstep as an assistant for her local commune leader. After one year in the role, Mana still can’t believe it’s true and tells us that before taking up this role she had “no hope in finding a good job”. She struggled with her desire to help her husband earn enough for the family but not being able to realise it.
“I didn’t have enough confidence and I didn’t believe in myself that I’d be able learn all this” she says. “I am older and I have children to take care of so it’s unbelievable that I could have this chance – it’s like a second birth” she gleams.
By helping parents build their own skills and opportunities to increase their income, we can reduce the risk of students having to drop out of school to financially support their families. Our goal is to create a good foundation for the children in our programme and opportunities for their families to develop their skills to change their own lives. In this way, we ensure that our education centres do not exist in a vacuum but serve to lift up the wider community.