My name is Nika Bin and I am your school principal of Chea Smonn Secondary School.
All the teachers including myself are working hard to help you, to motivate and encourage you to learn both at school and at home. Education is important and we also encourage all parents to help and push their children learn at home. Even with the time constraints of distance learning, we provide exercises and lessons to all of you. We clean our school environment every day, we have masks, temperature checking tool and soaps. We even received masks and hand sanitizers from PeopleStories Charity for daily use. At the same time, we are working closely with authorities in the community to help with this work.
My name is Bok Hoon and I recently joined PeopleStories Team as an ongoing volunteer. While donating my time and skill for a good cause, I explored my motivation to help others and more importantly the purpose I personally serve in education. I didn’t have to look much further than the history of my family and in particular the story my grandpa that I would love to share with you...
He would lift the rickshaw with his bare hands and ran barefooted under the scorching hot sun or the incessant rain to the destination of his passengers. After a hard day’s work, he would meet all his fellow villagers from his hometown. Most of his fellow villagers were illiterate and needed help with reading and writing letters. He continued to learn how to read and write from the newspapers and his fellow villagers.
While life was a struggle, he not only helped his fellow villagers to read and write letters, but also to write the addresses whenever they needed to send parcels home. All of this was done for free.
About a year ago, I came across PeopleStories when I attended their first annual charity dinner as a guest. I had gone to that dinner a year ago expecting nothing more than a lovely evening with like-minded friends who were contributing to a good cause.
Little did I know that that dinner was the beginning of a wonderful year ahead of positive changes together with PeopleStories.
Following that, I quickly got involved in promoting PeopleStories at my place of work, embarked on a travel volunteer trip to Siem Reap where I witnessed first hand the huge opportunity that lay in front of the children, if only they had access to the right tools which financial support could bring.
You could say that all our efforts will have culminated in the annual charity dinner. Our objective was to raise enough funds to provide education to 100 kids for the next school year. The annual charity dinner aptly named 100 Dreams, was a wonderful display of humanity at its best, pooling together time, efforts, and resources, in the name of a cause outside of ourselves.
As I write this, we are 80% to our target and have 8 more days to go to reach our goal.
Because of this experience,I have a newfound appreciation for the value of a dollar at the same time I understand that a contribution worth any amount is a good amount to start with.
Join me and the movement of PeopleStories by sparing $1 a day to help a child complete school:
Have a look at the photos of our fun and meaningful dinner - suprise!
Most organisations are now looking to constantly evolve and disrupt. Tech start-ups play an important role in bottom up innovation but reality is that 90% of them fail. Does that mean we shouldn’t take risk in pursuing our vision and dreams? Of course not!
Dreams are some of the most powerful drivers of human behavior and we should always look to successful role models or, even better, use them to dream even bigger! This not only applies to start-ups but also to individuals including students in school.
During my recent visit to the capital city of Cambodia - Phnom Penh, I had the privilege to meet and work with a number of high school and university students at a ‘Hackathon’. Experiencing their energy, maturity and kind hearts was absolutely amazing!
This clearly does not happen by accident but their personas are the result of thoughtful and focused education over the years. After seeing first-hand some of the leading STEM and New Generation schools there, it just confirmed my belief in the power of mentoring.
I learned so much from student Kret who came from one of the provinces where her family could not provide her with a better education. She has been living and studying at an NGO school for almost 8 years. Not only she surprised me with her sound English and excellent general knowledge but her dream and outlook for her future is just astonishing! In fact, she even invited us to visit her school and gave us an incredible tour there.
When I worked with these amazing young students it gave me a lot of encouragement. What I saw was one of the positive and better futures for the students we support!
Changing schools let alone the whole school system is hard (we’re trying though!) but to support deserving and talented students is comparatively easy. All we need to do is enable these students to pursue their dreams.
Our new intake of 100 scholarship students is the future! I can’t wait to see them all realize their full potential in a few years!
You can also make some real and direct impact with PeopleStories. Give us a helping hand today:
Looking back it was like yesterday when we first dreamed about Peoplestories. Everything started from a causal conversation with Victoria and Oliver, a few months prior to the official establishment of Peoplestories. I can still remember how much I was inspired by the passion and insight of this couple who were so determined to make real impact to the kids in rural Siem Reap.
We started everything from scratch, from thinking of a name, a mission and the scope, thinking about what we could and what we should do. To cut down on cost, we designed our first logo ourselves and that was when an amateur like me became the acting graphic designer for the team! We conducted countless conversations with our friends about Peoplestories and its values. We worked hard on our fundraising. We recruited, interviewed and expanded our team of Change Makers. We put tremendous effort into this but also had a lot of fun. I can't believe it has been two years already.
My role, as the Lead of Ethics and Governance Function, is slightly different from most of the other functions which would have more direct contact and impact to our beneficiaries and a team to work with. I focus more on the backend work, such as setting internal policies, guidelines on ethics, ensuring integrity and alignment with our values of our members and programmes. As a clinician who has been working in the social service sector for years, I have witnessed a lot of good and also bad practices among charities and the helping profession.
Peoplestories stands out because of its belief in the spirit of empowerment and changes that uplift, and more importantly a group of compassionate Change Markers who share and firmly stick to the same belief. I took my role to ensure Peoplestories keeps running as such.
It is amazing to see Peoplestories grow, from only a few of us to such a big group of likeminded Change Makers (volunteers), from an idea to concrete programmes benefiting hundreds and counting.
If you ask me what would be worth of celebrating at our 2nd birthday, I would say it is the Change Makers that we have. I have witnessed their wholehearted contributions and sacrifices despite their struggle on various commitments in their lives. They come here for nothing but to actualize what they believe and make a difference.
Peoplestories is all about people. As much as I want you to find out more about the kids in our programmes and also our Change Makers, I also want to know more about you. Reach out to us if you are interested. Perhaps you could be the next Change Maker.
“The world is in the 21st century, people around the world use computers for their work.
But at my school, none of the teachers can use computer except myself. All the school tasks relating to computer always rest on my shoulders, which makes me feel tired and disappointed.
Therefore, I really would like to see all the teachers including my school director here at Chea Smonn can use computer.
Information Technology is very powerful! I wish, by learning computer, all the teachers and my director can perform their work better and faster. More importantly, they can create better quality of teaching for the students.
I will be so happy and proud of myself when the teachers can use computer for better teaching.”
Story written by Mom Kimsong - Computer Teacher at Chea Smonn School
What an experience! What a privilege! What fun!
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be part of a small team from Singapore supporting PeopleStories in kick starting ‘football dreams’ at Phum Ou School in rural Siem Reap.
Football is my passion. I have been trying to play the game for over 50 years. The game has given me so much over the years…taken me to so many places and introduced me to so many friends for life. However , never in a million years could I have imagined myself as part of team coaching the beautiful game to 120 boys and girls - between the ages of 8 and 12 – at a school in Cambodia. Now that truly is living the dream!
No all-weather surfaces here. No goal posts or any other fancy coaching aids that you see on You Tube! What we did have though was 120 children bursting with excitement, infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy. A warm up (as if that was needed in Cambodia), few drills in smaller groups and some games. Really competitive…lots of cheering, loads of ‘high fives’ and big smiles. Humbling but above all INSPIRING!
There were so many highlights for me personally from this, my first volunteering experience-
I now better understand the role of ‘football dreams’ in the broader purpose of PeopleStories in advancing education in the rural Siem Reap area-this work can make a meaningful and sustainable difference. And it will not be long before I am back on a plane heading that way to do more. Cannae wait!
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to work with Victoria as a volunteer in rural Siem Reap to help refurbish Chea Smonn Secondary School.
Words can’t really describe the impact this has made on me so I can only encourage others to jump onboard and become a PeopleStories Change Maker either by donation or your time as a volunteer.
Victoria and the PeopleStories team will continue to make real change for underprivileged students by breaking the poverty cycle through education and I look forward to one day being part of this journey again.
What an awesome first day! Thank you Victoria Keeys for sharing with me your Cambodian family and home. With a clean up this morning we will be ready to start painting tomorrow!
In September 2018, I had the honor to join PeopleStories to build a classroom in rural Siem Riep, Cambodia for Chear Smonn Secondary school (i.e. Post on How I found PeopleStories)
I want to share a couple of the impactful moments I had on this trip. The first moment was when myself and other volunteers were carrying bricks to the bricklayers. Then kids from the local school who were on their school break came and joined us. The kids in groups of two would use a basket to transport bricks to the bricklayers I thought to myself, “ would you see this in a developed country?” To make that moment more memorable, Vic and Chandelle from PeopleStories had all of us write a phrase on a brick. I wrote “Dream Big” because I believe with basic IT skills and english these children have the building blocks to accomplish any dream. I put “dream big” so that it will be a constant reminder to the children that they can do anything! We placed the bricks in the foundation leaving our mark.
The second memorable moment was on my last day, Vic and I brought two girls from the school and their mom back to our hotel to swim. The two girls live with their parents outside the school in one bedroom wooden home with a well in the yard as their chief water source. As result, going to the city and being in a hotel really was a sharp contrast. When the girls saw the infinity pool their faces lit up with joy. Vic and I taught them the basic swimming strokes which they quickly learned and we raced them across the pool. This experience grounded us to realize that life is too short and moments like these can really make profound impact on someone's life.
Overall this Siem Reap trip with PeopleStories is truly profound and inspirational experience to me. It reminds me to always give back, live in the moment, and be thankful.
Come join us by being a Changemaker by Volunteering or by giving.