Chhein joined Bayon School in January 2018. She comes from Banteay Mean Chey, at the north east of Cambodia and grew up in a family of 7 children. Like many Khmer children, she took care of her younger siblings when she was still very young. This is probably what drove her towards working with the youth.
After high school, she completed a course to become a primary school teacher and taught in her home province for a year. Even though she enjoyed the role, she decided to go back to university to become a social worker, job that she found more stimulating and that offers a better wage.
After graduating with a management bachelor from Siem Reap University, she worked with Enfants du Mékong for 3 years, then for Japanese charity Kimonos. Her role with Kimonos consisted of empowering young women to become independent and responsible, through a social and personal development programme.
When she joined Bayon School, Chhein had an induction with her predecessor Tep, who had been social manager for the pastry school for a year and a half. He introduced her to her job description, which includes:
– Recruiting students;
– Assessing applicants’ families situation;
– Provide personal development sessions (job interview, resumes, etc.)
– Support the students with their life at the school and health;
– Seeking internships in restaurants and hotels;
– Seeking permanent roles after the training.
Chhein fast integrated into the team and was given a nickname – “Chhein Chhein”. What she most enjoys about her role is her relationship with the students. She works with them every day by providing essential information and support across many areas. She deeply wants to encourage them to become strong and independent women. She would like each of them to succeed in building a career that matches their interests.
When she was younger, Chhein would have loved to receive such support, but her family encouraged her to end her studies to help with farming work and get married. Despite the pressure, she stood for her values and worked in a primary school to fund her studies.
Today, Chhein is very proud of her background and how far she has come. She just gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Before going on maternity leave, she told us she would like to support her daughter in her education to become an independent woman.
Big thanks to Chhein for her involvement within the school and congratulations on her happy event!