Vandy is one of the hardest-working people you could ever hope to meet, all while being incredibly generous. Both with his time and his heart. Despite having a full-time job and studying in the evenings, he still finds time to be a teacher and mentor to students at Anjali.
He wants to give back to the organization that helped him, so other students can follow in his footsteps.
‘I wanted to come back to Anjali House to teach and share some of the things I learned here with other students so they can become successful.’
Vandy is 22, the second of four siblings raised by their mother in the Sala Kamreuk district of Siem Reap. Sadly, like so many rural families in this region, when his older brother was 10 years old, he had to stop his education to find a job and provide for the family. This situation is commonplace across Cambodia, trapping families in cycles of poverty across multiple generations. However, thanks to Anjali House, Vandy and his siblings will end this cycle.
Vandy joined Anjali House at age 16 after his mother heard about our work via a member of the community. Here, Vandy acquired a deep passion for books and reading while volunteering at the Anjali House library, a passion that continues to this day. Harry Potter remains at the top of the list, but he also enjoys Chinese and Korean manga. Excitingly, Vandy’s younger brother and sister have followed in Vandy’s footsteps and joined Anjali House.
Seven years after starting at Anjali House, Vandy is now attending university, the first in his family to do so. He is currently studying management and sees it as a pathway to gaining a job that will allow him to lift his mother and siblings out of poverty.
‘Anjali House has helped me a lot. They provided my university scholarship and supported my studies through high school.’ By providing uniforms, school materials, and scholarships for extra classes, Anjali House has relieved some financial burdens that sadly force many bright and eager students like Vandy to cut their education short. The amount of unrealized potential we see daily and staggering.
Vandy’s contributions to Anjali House cannot be overstated. He created a strong peer network of motivated students who study, do community work, and relax together. It’s a real bond of bright, determined students holding each other accountable, lifting each other up, and giving back to their community.
Vandy remarked, ‘Studying at Anjali was much more fun than normal school! I met all of my friends here, we’re still close today! My favorite memories are from my time in The Future Leaders Program.’
In our Future Leaders Program, we strive to empower young adults ages 14 and older with the skills they need to maximize their potential and become successful, independent adults. Vandy is just one example of many who have benefited immensely from the program. He is already using the skills he learned in his job.
As a supervisor role at a gas station, Vandy gets to use the English speaking and leadership skills he acquired at Anjali House, building his confidence and gaining invaluable on-the-job experience.
‘Studying at Anjali made me more confident about the future. In five years time, I want to own my own business. I plan to open a coffee shop.’
Nelson Mandela famously said that “Education is the most powerful weapon in the fight against poverty.” We see the truth in this every day, from success stories like Vandy to the young children who are now able to dream big. With your support, Anjali House can continue to empower children and young with the skills, resources, and knowledge they need to be great future leaders of their communities.
Help us keep the lights on here at Anjali House. Anything you can contribute will help ensure a brighter future for some of Cambodia’s most vulnerable children.