Welcome to ‘A Day In The Life’, a new series of stories about our students. This is the first of many that we will be released throughout the year. The first edition looks at Meas, a Mith Samlanh hairdressing student.
Meas lives at one of Mith Samlanh’s Transitional Homes while he studies hairdressing. The home provides him with a safe and supportive place to stay until he can be financially independent and find a house of his own. The 22-year-old likes to get up early at around 5 o’clock so that he has lots of time to prepare for his day. Breakfast is with the other students at the Home and usually consists of Khor Trey, which is fish in a sweet soup. A big truck picks them up and delivers the students to the Mith Samlanh Center at around 7.45am, in time for classes to begin at 8am. First off, Meas and his fellow students clean the classroom together, making sure that everything from the floor to the mirrors is spotless. Then they gather around the teacher for theoretical instruction and demonstrations. To put this knowledge into practice, they take turns with each other or often find willing models in the children attending the Non-Formal Education Center. This achieves the double aim of providing students like Meas with lots of real-life experience, while also giving kids from the streets an extra perk which helps teach them to keep clean and tidy.
At noon they take a break for lunch, where Meas eats with other students in the canteen at Mith Samlanh. In the afternoon the focus shifts from hair to life in general, with a teacher coming to their classroom to teach an hour of life skills. Meas likes these lessons, but says he dreads the English lessons they have two days a week, as he finds the language much harder to master than haircutting! From 3pm, they have activities scheduled with Club Friends twice a week – usually one afternoon of sport and one of cultural activities such as art, music or dance. Then at 4.30pm it’s back on the truck to return to the Transitional Home. The House Mother provides them all with a hearty dinner when they get back; Meas is pleased that she is a very good cook, his favorite meal being her Chinese noodles fried with pork. In the evenings, he watches TV with other youth staying there or, if a test is looming, he takes time to go over his lessons before bed.
By Korng Ram