A Tale of Two Trainees

These are the stories of two young men, graduates of Siem Reap Special Education High School (SEHS) in Cambodia who have overcome the twin challenges of hearing impairments and difficult family circumstances to pursue their dreams.

Now, with the support of Kaliyan Mith Futures Office and Vocational Training Programs, they are moving forward, into their chosen vocations.

Sokhom’s* Story

Sokhom is a vibrant 24-year-old who has been a part of Siem Reap SEHS since he was 15 years old, back in 4th grade. Unfortunately, due to a serious hearing impairment, he couldn’t continue his studies at the school in his local village. His family’s poor financial situation made it challenging for them to provide the necessary levels of care for him. So, his parents made the difficult decision to send him to Siem Reap SEHS, where they hoped he could receive a better education.

Growing up in a low-income family, Sokhom faced numerous other challenges. His family, solely dependent on farming, struggled to make ends meet. They resided in a modest house, far away from the bustling village. However, despite all these obstacles, he persevered and successfully graduated from SEHS in 2023.

Recognizing his potential, the SEHS connected Sokhom with the Futures Office (employment services) of Kaliyan Mith, the Friends program in Siem Reap, in November 2023 for his first assessment. He talked to them about his hopes of pursuing vocational training in the field of salon services. Eager to embark on this new journey, he commenced his training in December, at the Kaliyan Mith Salon Class.

The Futures Office also provided Sokhom with a range of invaluable services. These included career counseling, life skills development, sports activities, and work on both his general and job-specific soft skills. Through these, he was equipped with the necessary tools to thrive in his chosen career path.

During the consultations with Sokhom, he talked about how he wanted to get some work experience first before venturing into entrepreneurship. His ultimate goal is to open his own salon and shop in his village, where he can showcase his talents and provide beauty services to the community.

Currently, Sokhom is fully immersed in his vocational training, focusing on graduating soon and securing a job as a beautician with the support of Kaliyan Mith!

Phirun’s* Story

23 year-old Phirun is the third child in his family. Unfortunately, he too faced several challenges growing up. His father passed away when he was young, leaving the family in a difficult financial situation. With only one employed family member, their income simply wasn’t enough to cover the basic needs and living expenses for their tiny home.

Phirun’s severe hearing impairment alongside his family’s dire financial situation informed their decision to move him to Siem Reap SEHS at the age of 11, in order to ensure he received a quality education alongside proper care. Phirun successfully graduated from High School in 2023.

The Futures Office became aware of Phirun’s situation through their close contacts with SEHS. After his graduation, he had expressed an interest in learning how to do car wrapping and associated skills. In November of 2023, he had his initial assessment with the Futures team. They assisted him in finding a suitable training/apprenticeship opportunity in car wrapping and car accessory installation.

In January 2024, Phirun started his apprenticeship at a well-known local Vehicle Spare Parts & Accessories company which will be followed by a six-month internship there. His goal is to eventually open his own business in order to help better support himself and his family.

*names changed for privacy

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