A Part-Time Job at ISF Saved His Education
Sopheak* almost quit school to earn money for his family before he joined ISF’s Employment Programme. This 16-year old lives in Deum Chan Village, one of Phnom Penh’s urban slum communities near our Chbar Ampov campus. His mother and father earn a meagre living peeling garlic and driving a motorcycle taxi. After daily expenses, there wasn’t enough to make ends meet for them. Thinking back, Sopheak states, “If I didn’t join the Employment Programme, I would have dropped out of school to find a job because my family really needs me to help generate an income.”
Unfortunately, nearly 75% of dropouts in Cambodia state that they quit school to earn money (USAID). The ISF Employment Programme is part of a holistic support system that seeks to ensure that youth like Sopheak aren’t forced out of school due to economic circumstances. Our counselling team works with each young person to get them vocational training and then place them in jobs that match their skills and interests, either within ISF or with partner organizations
The high school student started working with our Education Programme in 2018 under the guidance of the Operation Manager for our Chbar Ampov school, Seiha Kong. He now works as an assistant librarian at one of our mobile libraries when not going to class. Through contact with the library’s visitors, Sopheak has discovered a love for working with children. “I like helping them to read and write. I really enjoy reading stories for them.” While he cherishes the skills and income that come from his job, he doesn’t intend to end his career with that. Sopheak dreams of becoming an engineer in the future.