PEPY Student Sominea and Why She Values Education
PEPY student Sominea’s gap year was not the same as those of most students in western countries! Sominea joined the PEPY scholarship project in 2017. She comes from Kampong Chhnang Province (as part of our first pilot project supported by iHerb). Although she graduated high school in 2016, Sominea took a gap year; without hope to continue her bachelor degree due to financial difficulties, she had to work in a textile factory in Phnom Penh. She needed to earn money not just for her own studies but also to support her two younger sisters and brother who were studying in secondary school. Sominea worked so hard to support herself and her siblings because she believes that education is necessary to earn a sustainable living and achieve one’s broader life goals.
Sominea currently is studying accounting at Vanda Institute in Siem Reap. Her commitment to studying is shown by her university’s student records, which show that she has never been absent, and her high grades. Besides studying at the institute, she also attended one year of study at the PEPY Learning Center. She studied English, ICT, and soft-skill training classes. Sominea made a huge change from being a silent to an active student in class. “In Youth Empowerment class, I noticed that at the first quarter of the year Sominea was quiet and shy even talking with her friends. Soon after, Sominea performed differently. I was really proud to see her changes,” Channa said. Outside of school, Sominea also volunteers for a variety of activities, for example with the Youth of Cambodia group – a group of former PEPY students who organize different charitable events in Siem Reap, including planting trees and organizing art performances (dancing, Khmer music instrument shows etc.).
In November, after finishing her first year at PEPY’s Learning Center, Sominea get her first job in Siem Reap as an accountant at Angkor Standard Polyclinic. Sominea said “I am very happy to work in this clinic because it is my first job experience.” In the future, Sominea wants to work with an NGO based in her community. This is because she wants to give back to her own community and ensure that more students have educational opportunities like her. At PEPY we are really appreciative of all her hard work and can’t wait to see her progress.