Leaphea* is nine years old and currently in our Catch-up Education Programme. Her hometown is in Svay Rieng Province but her parents and her six siblings relocated to Phnom Penh in 2012. Her father is a construction worker and her mother is a housewife.
Her older sisters and brothers work as scavengers (scavenging for plastic to sell) and beggars. Her youngest sister is 7 years old and is studying at state school. Leaphea never had an opportunity to go to school before because her parents simply couldn’t afford to send her.
In 2015, our social worker Sophea met with Leaphea and her family. Leahphea still remembers the meeting vividly:
“He asked me and my parents a lot of questions” she says. “He said would be in contact about whether I could join ISF’s Catch-up Education Programme. I remember the date, it was on 20 October 2017 that he called my mother and said that I could join the programme. My first day with ISF was on 1 November 2017 and I joined grade 1.
Last month, my teachers told me that I can start to study in grade 2. I’m so excited! I am always happy when I am at ISF because I have food to eat, friends to play with and teachers that always take care of me. I wish that next year my youngest brother will be able to come to ISF because I want to see him have good education and be as happy as me.
My favorite subject is math and Khmer. I want to become a teacher in future because I want to teach all the children who want to study but don’t have chance.”
*Names of those under 18 have been changed.