Six years ago, a 13-year-old girl member of Prek Chrey Child Club named Leaknak Phat became a “small teacher”. From Monday to Saturday, she was collecting 5-12 years old children who had to drop-out from school. Around 15-20 children were coming to her grandmother’s shopping stall or the bottom of her family’s house every day. She was teaching them Khmer, Mathematics, and basic English with the educational materials provided by KCD.
Leaknak is now 19 years old, the former Vice-Chairman the Child Club (2017-2018). She passed the National High School Diploma Examination in 2019 and started her University life in Phnom Penh. She has also passed the Primary School Teacher examination in her home village in the same year and now is getting ready to become a teacher.
She is the eldest daughter among three daughter siblings in her family, her farther passed away in 2018, now she lives with her mother and siblings in Prek Chrey Village, near the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, the target area of KCD. Her mother makes a living working as a farmer and sometime selling cakes, food and drinks at Prek Chrey school to support the family.
Occasionally, Leaknak’s mother wanted her to drop out of school because her family financial situation. Leaknak being an active participant of Child Rights trainings, explained to her mother: “I want to study as high as I can, because I want to support my family. When I finish higher education, I will have more opportunities to find a good job, so I can help our family and our community. This is the reason why I will have to study hard“.
Leaknak says: “My parents don’t blame me when I do something wrong. Especially my mother and farther (when he was alive) always support, motivate, encourage and push me to do volunteer work by giving me an opportunity and time to join KCD and Child Club activities”. During her time as a Child Club Vice-Chairman, Leaknak has been involved in running several campaigns (Dengue Fever awareness, School Enrollment, Hygiene Promotion), organizing International Children and Women’s Day celebrations, conducted extra classes as a “small teacher”, worked as an assistant trainer for Child Rights awareness workshops for children, joined weekly, monthly and annual meetings, exchange study visits, and served as a representative of Prek Chrey Child Club at the National Children and Youth Network.
After joining all these extracurricular activities with KCD, Leaknak highlighted that this experience gave her, confidence, leadership skills, bravery and clear understanding of her personal goals in the future. Especially, the extra classes activities have contributed to her success during the Primary School Teacher examination, as she got an understanding of how to teach students, the role of the teacher and experience of social volunteer work, that all she described during her exam.
Leaknak’s mother Ms. Pheoun Ny is delighted to see her daughter’s confidence and bravery. She loves to see her hard work and is proud of her daughter’s High School diploma and Primary School Teacher examination success. “I feel very happy that my daughter is recognized and valued. I personally have seen a lot of changes in my child. She became more courageous, more discerning, and wiser “. Even though she still struggles to earn a living as a farmer, she is happy to do her best to earn money to support Leaknak and her two sisters to access the Higher Education and have better lives in the future.
As her advise to KCD, Leaknak suggests that the organization should strengthen teaching children in the village more by providing more opportunities for “small teachers” activities.