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31 August 2022 - Story


A 9-year-old boy, Hem Rosat, who had experienced a terrible incident that left him feeling miserable and wanted to drop out, has slowly recovered his confidence and committed to study hard.

Rosat and his two siblings are living in Svay Bakav village, Ta Ches commune, Kampong Tralach district, Kampong Chhnang province, with their parents, Mr. Hem Vanna, a 42-year-old construction worker, and Ms. Set Khorteychas, a 37-year-old housewife. The pair also serve as seasonal workers.

Because the family has low-income, Rosat and his siblings usually went out to work with their parents in order to earn more, especially during the weekend when they have no classes.

During the frequent school closures in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Rosat spent most of his time serving as a young seasonal worker. Unfortunately, he got cut by a meat grinder machine and lost three fingers of his right hand.

“It was my fault. I should not let my son going to work with me. I feel so regret about this. I cried many times because I pity him so much,” said Rosat’s mother, “Since then, I always spend time with him and do most of hard work for him.”

It was a tough time for Rosat who is right-handed to start learning and using his left hand to perform activities in daily living and a stressful moment when he returned to the Svay Bakav primary school and studies in grade 3 when the school was reopened in November last year.

“I remember when I walked into the classroom, other students kept looking at me and my right hand. They no longer make friends with me. I was isolated, mocked, and discriminated. I sometimes cried alone at the concern of the room feeling myself as a weirdo. I felt ashamed and I wanted to stop going to school,” said Rosat.

Slowly, Rosat’s parents felt it was pointless for Rosat to continue studying because their son was not able to catch up with lessons and was feeling distressed.

Rosat’s situation has improved when his teacher, Ms. Mot Sarum learned about his difficulties and offer extra care and support. She has taught other students not to discriminate against Rosat and instead encourage him to continue learning and live his life as other young students.

Ms. Sarum was one among the teachers at the target schools that received support and trained on effective teaching and learning in schools, especially through improved pedagogy and inclusive, child-friendly teaching techniques under Save the Children’s Education with Quality and Inclusive Learning (EQUAL) project in 2018.

“With mental and technical support as well as study materials, Rosat is doing better in class. his parents are happy to send him to school,” said Ms. Saum.

Later, Save the Children has worked in collaboration with Provincial and District Offices of Education, Youth and Sport to implement the Safe Back to School – Pathways in Educational Equity and Resilience (PEER) project, with funding support from Save the Children Korea in July 2021.

Not so long, the project has learned about Rosat’s situation and provided him with study materials that make it more convenient for him to learn. Rosat now studies at grade 4 in the academic year 2021-2022. He can now read better and faster with support from Ms. Sarum.

“I am really happy that I have good grade now. I want to continue learning,” he said, “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.”