The Anjali Legacy
Anjali House has been open for 15 years. We love seeing the lasting impact our programs have had on our students’ lives. We are continually amazed by the perseverance, dedication, and commitment they have to not only improve their own lives, but also the lives of those around them. Kosal is one of these amazing students. He agreed to share his story with us. In the midst of finishing his university degree and developing his own start-up – we are excited to see where he goes!
My name is Kosal, 19, a native of Takeo province, Cambodia. I am currently studying IT at the University of Puthisastra in Phnom Penh. I chose this major because technology is important all over the world. It is helpful for people to build connections with each other. I love this major, also, it is my talent. In addition, it is a skill that supports the development of my country and we can learn something new about our own country and abroad.
How It Began
Now I will tell you about my life before and to this day. I was born in Takeo province. I have two sisters and one brother and am the youngest child. When I was a child, my family lived happily, all the children went to school. We always had meals together, laughing. But it did not stay long. When I was seven years old, my father died from illness. Then my family life was difficult because my mother was responsible for everything in the family. She has to act as a mother and also a father. After seeing my mother’s difficulties, my oldest brother and sister left school in the ninth grade. They had to find jobs to earn money to support the family. My brother worked with my uncle as a driver, so he was away from the family, my mom and my sister went to work too. They left me and my second sister in the hometown with my grandmother who was over 70 years old. At the same time, my second sister also left school because she had to look after the family and take care of our grandmother at home. Out of all the children in my family, I am the only one who continues to study because my brothers, my sisters, and my mom encouraged me to go to school. I had to stay away from Mom and Dad from the age of seven years old. It was very difficult for me because during the age of children should be warm and happy, I could only live with three members of my family, my grandmother, and my sister for one and a half years.
Moving to Oudor Meachey
When I was in grade 5, my mom took me to live with her in Anlong Veng district, Oudor Meanchey province. She kept me from studying, but it was difficult because Cambodia and Thailand had a war on the border of Preah Vihear province. We always ran to the church when there was fighting. This was scary for a child. I studied in Oudor Meanchey for two years. After that, I changed to study in Siem Reap province when I was nine years old.
Another Move, This Time to Siem Reap
At that time, I met another new world, which was different from my previous life. I lived with my mother and my uncle, it was warm, but not for long, my mother returned back to live in Onlong Veng. Siem Reap is the province where I have studied English and have made contact with tourists. My life in Siem Reap was not stable because I lived with other people without my family. I lived far away from my family since I was nine years old. I have struggled with this life since childhood. Now I have come to understand life since living away from the family. It has taught me so much. In Siem Reap, first I lived with my aunt and my uncle, and then I was living with a cousin, after that I asked my teacher named Simmon for a while and then I lived with an old man called, Mr. Sok. I stayed with him for 3 years. Then, I started to live on my own when I was in grade 9. At that time, I studied and worked to get some money to support myself with study because my family did not have much to help me.
A Chance for Education
My first study in Siem Reap was I studied at an organization called Anjali House, which has always helped me to this day. I have learned English and a lot of knowledge there. I can help other people to participate in community work, like teaching and picking up rubbish in the community. I have learned leadership and I’ve also been leading some programs like camping and bringing young adult students to share experiences with rural children. All these activities teach me how to live happily and peacefully.
A Love of STEM Begins
I always study hard and help my community so a lot of people know me and love me. One more thing I would like to tell you is my about best experience. My friends from highschool and I, made a study group, now called Young Science and Engineering Group, which is a group that helps train the younger generation to understand their capabilities in the future. We can recycle old materials such as bells, electric motors, windmills, telephones, radios, and electricity flower pots, etc. It gave us the opportunity to participate in science-related programs. We had the opportunity to present our works in our country and abroad. Because of many experiences and inspiration, we have successfully created a STEAM program on January 5, 2016, successfully at Hun Sen Wat Svay High School with hundreds of people’s support.
However, if there are no supporters, my life will be so hard maybe I drop out of school at that time.
When I first came to Siem Reap, Anjali House was the first organization to support me. I had learned English, general knowledge, food, clothing, and health care, and they sent me to a public school. Later, when I was in Grade 10, my study was poor because I didn’t have much money to study extra classes like math, chemistry, and physic. Then I got a scholarship from Ponheary Ly Foundation to study extra classes, learn English at Western international schools, and a bicycle. Thanks to this help, my studies continue to grow and I become an outstanding student in the class. I am so happy that I have the opportunity to continue to graduate from high school and continue to university. If no help from all of you, I will not continue to study because my family is poor. Now because of all of you I can continue my university. Thanks for helping us continue our studies to realize our dreams.
The Future Begins – Studying in Phnom Penh!
Nowadays, I continue to study in Phnom Penh. It is a new world filled with competition. People seem less resilient and respectful like those in my life before, which makes everyone less confident about each other. When I first came to Phnom Penh, it was difficult for me because of different communication, food, atmosphere, and no peace because of a less secure world, and especially traffic with a lot of cars and motorbikes traveling. But now, I feel better about this society. Also, I have come to the university campus to get to know many new friends from many provinces in Cambodia it makes me happy and peaceful.
A Word of Thanks
Finally, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped us with our studies. I promise that we will study hard and take the skills that we have learned from this learning to have the next generation. We are dedicated to helping the development of the country, especially the poor people, just like people have helped us.