Parents and students optimistic about education
One of the goals of PEPY’s scholarship program is to change rural attitudes on education by creating role models. We work in the Kralanh district, where a majority of families are subsistence rice farmers. Under pressure from their families, many students drop out of school and migrate to Thailand to do seasonal labor for extra income. By offering scholarships to motivated young people, we hope to create leaders whom others in the community can emulate.
Remember Vy and Vouet from PEPY’s 2012 scholarship program? We are proud to let you know that these two dedicated students have become informal mentors to other students in the community, sharing their experiences on education and life in university. Their successes have also turned skeptics into supporters. Parents who would have once pressured young people to immigrate illegally to Thailand are now encouraging their own children to study hard.
We recently visited Kralanh to congratulate 20 new scholarship students and their parents. We were deeply heartened to hear scholarship students and their parents express belief in the importance of higher education.
Parents pledged their support for their children:
“I am very excited and happy and I am so proud of my child that she can continue to study at the university as no family member go to university before… It is very difficult for me to send my child to university because all the needs require money. I think education is important because (i) [good] for my child future; (ii) family honor, and (iii) to serve the nation.”
– Meas Sengtong, 51
“When I heard that my child selected, [my child and I] were very happy and couldn’t sleep because of the excitement. Because I did not study high, and earning is very difficult that’s why I want my child to find a job so that not difficult like me. Thank PEPY very much.”
– Malis Chhee, 48
The students themselves were also brimming with joy:
“After I finish high school, my parents do not allow me to study because they do not have money and they ask me to find job to support the family. I asked my parents again that if I get the [PEPY] scholarship, will they allow me to study? They agree because scholarship opportunities would help to reduce a lot of family expense on my education… Learn more is good; if I study high I will get a job and I can come back to develop my community and myself. I can get good job and can give financial support for my family. My dream is to be a knowledgeable person, smart, find good job with reasonable salary, and have the ability/capacity to develop my community.”
– Che Marar
“When I heard I got the scholarship from PEPY, I was very happy, I didn’t expect that I would be selected. Among all my siblings, only I could continue to university. I want to study at the university because it is a good opportunity for me to learn a specific skill. I think education is very important for me to avoid illiterate and to escape from poverty. My future dream, I want to be a person that has full capacity to serve the nation and family as well as myself.”
We are inspired by their optimism for the future and convictions on the potential of education. If you are as excited as we are to see how these students will grow over the next few years, stay tuned for more updates on their progress.