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16 May 2024 - Story


A young girl who had previously dropped out of school but later resumed her education with the support of the Cash for Education program, now holds the position of class president because of her remarkable willingness to support her classmates and share her knowledge.
Soeurn Kakada, an 8-year-old child from a single-headed and vulnerable household, was among other young students who received Cash for Education support in mid-2022. This support was part of the scholarship program called Safe Back to School–Pathways in Educational Equity and Resilience (PEER) project, which Save the Children Korea funded. The support not only helped Kakada purchase study materials and return to school but also garnered the support of her mother and grandmother by increasing their awareness of the importance of education.
Kakada lives in Thlok Russei village, Sethei Commune, Samaki Meanchey District, Kampong Chhnang Province. She is now eight and studying in 3rd grade at Spean Pou Primary School for the 2023-2024 academic year.
According to her current teacher, Ms. Nom Chetra, who had previously taught her in 1st grade, the girl's academic abilities and recognition from her peers made Kakada an inspiring and effective leader, leading to her election as class president.
“I think it was because of her hard work in grade 2. She always shared what she learned with her classmates, encouraging them to continue studying”, said Ms. Chetra, noting the fact that Kakada could not attend school earlier served as a valuable lesson for others, making her realize the true importance of education in transforming her own life and that of her family.
“She enjoys learning and studying hard, even during the school break. She has proved to the school management committee that she is worth supporting and caring for,” Ms. Chetra added. “I have planned to assign her to lead a study club and become a member of the student council to help develop her leadership potential.”
Kakada's improved ability to learn is also a testament to the support from her mother, a garment worker, and her grandmother, a street vendor. Their hard work and newfound knowledge of the importance of education ensure that Kakada’s well-being and education are prioritized despite her father's lack of financial or any other support.
"I always worried that my granddaughter, Kakada, could face discrimination and lack confidence while interacting with other kids because she does not have a father," said Ms. Ban Roeurn, 67, Kakada's grandmother. "I am grateful that the school allows me to enter in the morning and sell snacks here for students so I can earn income and keep an eye on her."
Ms. Roeun earns between 2.50 USD and 5 USD by selling Khmer cakes ((steamed pumpkin/banana and rice cakes) and fruits (mango, banana, papaya, and watermelon). She often has to walk Kilometers to find customers and return home early to cook food. Similarly, Kakada's mother has to leave home early for work and could arrive home late in the evening. Despite the hardship, Ms. Roeun feels blessed that her granddaughter excelled in school.
"That result gave me the strength to continue taking care of my granddaughter and daughter without feeling exhausted. I am delighted that Kakada is enjoying her learning and receiving great care from both her teacher and the PEER project team," Ms. Roeurn expressed.
When asked, Kakada expressed her gratitude and happiness with a smile on her face. She believes she is fortunate to be loved by her mother and grandmother, including everyone at her school. In return, Kakada commits herself to helping with household chores and studying hard to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
“I enjoy sharing lessons with my classmates who have difficulty understanding what our teacher taught, and when I am at home, I help my grandmother wash clothes and clean dishes. I can live and study happily now,” Kakada said.
Interviewed by: Pov Khoeurn, Project Officer
Written by: Taing Vida, Communications and Campaign Manager
Photograhpy: Yous Ratha, Communications Officer
Proofread by: Chin Kethya, Donor Reporting Specialist