The power of education

“I had a vision to help rebuild the children of Cambodia…Education has been, and remains, the foundation upon which our programs are based….” said Gary Hewett, of project J515 Awareness Cambodia. Apart from primary, secondary education and vocational training, the project also offers university scholarships, primarily in medicine and agriculture.  Lork was offered a medical scholarship. Here is his story:

Lork’s mother died when he was young. His father, who lost his left arm during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, struggled to generate income as a farmer and raise Lork and his six brothers and sisters on his own.

After remarrying, Lork’s dad started a new family. As is common in Cambodia, the children of the first wife or husband are often not welcome in the new family. Lork and his siblings struggled to survive and were forced to leave their home to find work so that they could continue their studies.

In year nine Lork remembers being asked: “What is your dream?”  Without hesitation he answered: “I want to be a doctor”.  Lork successfully passed his junior high exams but had no way of being able to continue to study. Lork decided to move to Siem Reap, as he had heard it had a good government school and planned to find employment to support him while he studied. So, despite being a very challenging and lonely time, this is what Lork did to follow his dream of studying medicine.

Lork came first in his class and was named one of the top students for mathematics and chemistry in the entire province. Two months later he passed the national examination for medical school entrance in Phnom Penh. Lork was one of the 360 selected out of 4,000 applicants.

In January 2016, Lork was awarded an ‘Awareness Cambodia scholarship’, providing his tuition fees, food and a nurturing environment at Graduation House, where he is loved by all. Lork is thriving and incredibly grateful to Awareness Cambodia for giving him this opportunity.

Today, Lork is in his fourth year studying medicine at the University of Health Science in Phnom Penh, well on his way to achieving his goal. Lork readily volunteers at local hospitals and is always helping other students. When he graduates in 2021, Lork plans to give back to the community.

Project J515 Awareness Cambodia is a multi-faceted project held in high regard by the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation. The project also currently cares for 53 vulnerable at ‘Sunshine House’. Currently 101 Australians are sponsoring children in the project.

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