Rebelling against Poverty

As a young teenage lad, Jerry* was considered rebellious. He dropped out of school against his parents’ wishes and started spending more time outside with his friends. His parents were worried about him because of the increasing drug problem among the youth in their community in Chak Angre, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

In 2020, the team from Mith Samlanh met Jerry’s parents during a community outreach in Chak Angre Commune. His parents expressed their growing concern about where Jerry’s life was going. So the team talked to Jerry. He decided that he did not want to go back to school, he wanted to learn new skills to start earning money to help his parents. So Jerry entered the Motor Repair Vocational Training program at Mith Samlanh during the COVID19 pandemic. 

As the pandemic was in full flight, these were mostly online classes with his peers, who would then meet up, under COVID protection restrictions, to practice their skills at Mith Samlanh Vocational Training school. His online learning enabled him to eventually find a place near Pochentong where he could do his internship. 

Motor mechanic vocational training student working on a motorbike. photo supplied by Friends-International.

After one year in the vocational training program, Jerry applied and was accepted as an intern in a moto repair shop where he put into practice the skills hr had learned in motorcycle repair. The shop paid him a small allowance each month, and because of his hard work, he also got tips from the clients during this internship. 

In 2022, his father passed away due to illness. The family had lost its breadwinner and started to struggle to support themselves. Mith Samlanh stepped in, assessing the situation and providing the family with emergency food support and capital to buy materials for a small grocery shop by their home for his mother. Jerry stopped working as an intern and decided to be a tuk tuk driver to support his mother and their family. 

Jerry still uses his motor repair skills for his own tuk tuk and plans to study more about motor repair in the future to continue to improve those skills. Mith Samlanh also keeps a close eye on how the family are progressing, ready to provide any other support if necessary.

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*name changed for privacy.

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