Updated: Jun 9
Two different stories, both overcoming sadness with hope and love
Sun Chhay has just proudly begun her first year at university
ODA’s first teacher, Sophan, brought Sun Chhay and her uncle, Bhub (both 3 years of age at the time), to ODA after their parents had died.
They were both unwell and needed weekly hospital visits to recover.
Sun Chhay was quiet but comforted in the care of Leng's wife, Sry On. Bhub was a typical toddler who enjoyed playing with the other boys at ODA.
A determined little student, Sun Chhay daily could be found sitting with the big kids in class. She couldn't read then, but every letter was well formed and correct. Over the next year, she evolved into one of the ‘family’ and happily chatted away learning, playing and painting with everyone.
You can see 3 year old, Sun Chhay, in the ODA Logo above. A friend of a volunteer designed the ODA brochure and Logo using her photo, so she is embedded in ODA for life!
On a funded trip to a Sihanoukville beach, our bus banner featured Sun Chhay’s photo. When she saw it, at about 4 years old she excitedly pointed to it saying "Me,me, me!" The residential students loved chasing the waves, letting sand run through their fingers and were entranced by seaweed and shells.
Sun Chhay and Bhub started Khmer school at the age of 5. Sun Chhay had a burning ambition to become a teacher and maybe "a business woman". Bhub left school early to do an electrician course.
This year, a very happy and beaming Sun Chhay started university, studying English Literature. She can’t quite believe she is lucky enough to attend university at last. She has already completed training to teach a class at an ODA school, so is well on her way to realising her dream that she says was only made possible by the care of Leng and Sry On, and the schooling she received thanks to supporters of ODA.
Sun Chhay as a 3 year old with Tey’s older sisters and volunteer Shirley
Tey excitedly beginning his Civil Engineering university degree
Tey (Sothey is his full name)
Like many children at ODA, Tey’s start to life was traumatic. His mother left Tey and his siblings with her elderly mother and nothing was heard of her for over 10 years. Two of his older sisters were brought to ODA to ease the grandmother's burden. The following year, they were joined by another sister, and about 3 weeks after the 3rd girl had come, we think grandma decided that worked well, and one day there was a little 3 year old boy sitting on the side of the road outside ODA totally disorientated and visibly upset poor little kid. A villager had been asked by grandma to take him and drop him at ODA! One of the ODA kids brought him in and his sisters recognised him, but Leng hadn’t any idea he was coming.
Like his sisters, Tey is an intelligent young boy and now, as one of the older kids, he is a very caring ‘big brother’ to all the other ODA children.
Tey has just started at university to become a Civil Engineer. His grandmother is so proud of him. If not having been supported at ODA with a full tummy and education, Tey would never even have known what a Civil Engineer was.
Tey proudly standing outside the university where he studies
These are just 2 of the students your support helps with education and residential living support. Feeding and caring for 30+ students at any one time is expensive even in Cambodia. Any financial support goes in the pool to keep now over 30 students.
University for ODA students and teachers is provided by a very kind USA family which ensures they win quality employment on their graduation.