Click the arrows below to read the reflections of some of these incredible University graduates!!
Reflection from Sreng
Late 2012, I believed that was the best education I could obtain when I had just graduated from high school. After a long discussion with my family, my mother and I came to the conclusion that I should enroll at university even though my mother, sisters, and I had to work very hard to save money for the tuition and living costs. It was challenging to work as a waiter in a restaurant where I had to leave at around 1:30 in the morning and go to class at 7 in the morning. The saddest part was having to watch my mother and sisters worked and save money so that I could be the only child in the family who could attend university. I nearly wanted to give up when I thought about having to do that for the following four years.
By the end of 2013, I was no longer concerned about not making enough money to cover my school expenses thanks to the CRST NGO. I could anticipate graduating. Not only did I graduate, but I also had two diplomas: one from Siem Reap's top university and the other from the United States. Even in a dream, I would never have believed that this was possible. The biggest turning point in my life when I started my life in the NGO. I have gained life-changing experience and knowledge since joining the NGO through a variety of roles. From a volunteer teaching English to children to the NGO assistant manager, the general manager of one of the NGO’s social enterprises, the NGO Manager, and ultimately a member of the NGO leadership team and mentor. Every opportunity I had with the NGO helped me get ready for my current position with KPMG, one of the Big 4 account firms in the world. I genuinely feel that the NGO's vision has come true in my life – I think that because of the education I received, the poverty cycle that has pervaded my family for numerous generations has not been broken.
Thank you so much to the Palti Family, Steve and Liz, and all the NGO sponsors for providing me with these chances that have changed my life.
Reflection from Veun
It’s such a long journey for me to fight for my education. To finish high school was an impossible dream before because my family condition did not allow me to do so. I was born in a poor family and we only earned to survive from day to day. The villagers believed that getting higher education was created for rich people but not for the poor like us.
However, I am happy to tell you that my family still encouraged me to go to class every day. But having me attend school put so much pressure on my parents, so they had to ask two of my older sisters to drop out of school. It was an unforgettable memory to see everyone sacrificed a lot for me. I felt so bad that my study really affected my whole family income. Moreover, I was not sure if I was going to succeed. I had a lot of questions for myself.
The darkness had gone and light came to replace it when I was selected to be a member of Cambodia Rural Students Trust –NGO in 2011. I was supported to finish my high school and recently I just had an official graduation for my bachelor degree. I was standing in the line to receive my certificate and my family (mom & uncle) was sitting somewhere with a bouquet of flowers walking toward me and they said “congratulation son” with their emotional expression. Their word flew me away because it was the first gift and word from them ever. Well, they are uneducated, so they didn’t show this a lot. Anyways, I felt so blessed to see my parents smile with so much happiness. I am proud to tell you that I have become the first person in family who is able to finish university. Now I am also studying for a master's in Development and International Studies.
I could not make this dream come to reality without true support from the Palti Family who is the founder of CRST as well as sponsors. It's an honor to receive your assistance. I may not express enough to an individual person, however, I would like to let you know that you have made positive impacts on my life. Thanks for your generosity and trust in me.
Reflection from Samach
Graduation day is my happiest day ever because I can bring success to my lovely mom and proved that education is the most powerful weapon to break the poverty cycle. I proved all women in my village that women have equal right to do what we women want. Back to 10 years ago, I was just a weak girl who did not understand the impact of education because everyone in my family dropped out of school and work as farmer due to our family financial problem. I did not know what I wanted to do but I believe that education can break my poverty. I am very proud to tell everyone that I am now in my second year of Master Degree of Finance and Accounting. I am working as an Accountant and Taxation Manager.
I would like to express my gratitude to my lovely mother, Palti family, and Cambodia Rural Students Trust for caring and supporting. Through CRST, I have changed and learned many things. Without the support from everyone, both emotional and financial, I would not be able to become who I am today. I will never forget this incredible value. Thank you so much for believing in me.
Reflection from Barang
My education journey started in 2009 once my father insisted me to stay with relatives in Siem Reap town and to continue studying, for the schooling at my village was limited in quality and resource. I disagreed, but could not denied the decision. Surprisingly, after the move I learned and understood my father’s will. Education transformed a cow boy into city boy who then determined to pursue broader knowledge to break the poverty circle of the family and community. It was phase 1 of my life – that was a huge change.
In 2016, once hearing about scholarship, I applied and passed. My parents were absolutely delighted, and that they were able to shift the support to my sister coming and studying in the town as well. 5 years in CRST, I graduated from high school and university within comprehensive professional and life experience throughout contributions and opportunities provided. It is the Phase 2 of my life – CRST scholarship defined who I am today and who I will be in the next phase.
It is another chapter to start where I am pursuing my master degree in Phnom Penh, and working toward my goal. With all these here, I would like to show my highly gratitude to my parents, the CRST organization, sponsors, teachers, friends, and everyone who involve in this life change progress, and thank myself.
Reflection from Vanndet
I want you to go back with me to 7 years ago. I may say sorry to my life if I threw away my education in university. In 2015, I did not know and did not have the right to choose where I want to walk my life journey in the dark spot. I might choose to work and earn some profit for my family at that moment or maybe I decided to plant in the rice field with my father and family.
The opportunity came when I decided to spend a few hours teaching English to kids in the rural in the small local NGO. That time, I took and committed to it until I got a confirmation from Cambodia Rural Students Trust, I was selected after I passed the three main tests, educational level, personal attitude, and family visited discussion.
My life was changed to get along with my personal and educational plan to graduate with the Degree of Business Bachelor by the crucial theory, “Breaking the Poverty Cycle Throw Education”. While I was studying and working in CRST, honestly some days I had a tough time managing my personal schedule supporting NGO projects and PUC Education. I was overloaded and became a very thin man. These were real-life challenges because CRST is not for one person, but this NGO is for Cambodian Students and the community. With the Supporters and Mentors from Australia, my stingy time was over. So now I can see the world was more useful when we have those skills’ experiences, soft-skill, hard-skill, healthy tactics, quality of education in Khmer and English, and qualified working style.
I would like to thank CRST and Aviv’s family that creating the NGO for poorly Cambodian students having hope, a belief, a chance, and dream-like other families who are having the ability to support their kids for a better education. I would like to represent my family at the farm, Thanks to Aviv’s family and all CRST members who put their hands on the successful achievement of my degree and personal development. Without the offers from CRST, I could not be able to come to Phnom Penh and work in a good company with a reasonable income for my family and myself. To end, I won't say that the degree certificate is to offer a sacrifice by CRST and my Family. My family gives me birth, but CRST has supported me with an education. Both of them create me into who I am today.
I love you so much CRST, I commit to supporting you back, CRST, and forever after I graduate with my Master's Degree from Phnom Penh. CRST has to stay in Cambodia forever and give more hope and opportunities to more potential students who are willing to study.
Reflection from Sokkhim
Hi! I am Sokkhim, 30 years old now. I leave my family away because I love the education and do everything for my education. I came alone and walked away from my hometown and went over the province. My life had been through over difficult thing and had learned so much about the life of fighting for the education. I left from my family since 2006 when I was 14 years old. It was a difficult time for me as I had no much money to continue my education but my life was getting brighter as one of friend told me about the scholarship from a NGO that could complete my dream. At that time, I asked more about that and finally I got passed and got the scholarship from that NGO-Cambodia Rural Students Trust-CRST. I had joined with this NGO and I had done many things such as doing the Community Service (Building the Houses for the poor families), Family Support (stuff supply for poor families), and Volunteering Activities (Teaching Kids at some schools and NGO partners).
During that time, I never forgot myself development with the education. I started from the Pre-English class for the University studies. My life with education was so bad and difficult with the situation. I had worked so hard with it and fight for it till the end. Life as a university needed to challenge with more things such as commitment to get the best grades, doing so many assignments (sometimes it was so bad to get it done as they were very difficult to solve and find the solutions). I also faced with the different professors and we had been together of each term to finished one subject. After I challenged with those things over 5 years at Pannassastra University of Cambodia at Siem Reap and I now finished it and completed the step of education-Bachelor Degree of Business Administration. I graduated from my Bachelor Degree since December 2021 and I recently got the certificate of my Bachelor Degree of Business Administration.
Finally, I was challenged with many difficult thing during my university life because of my dream. Everything I did is just for dream and a BIG DREAM.
Reflection from Saoly
Life gives each of us wonderful sweet, bitter, and salty experiences. These encounters become much more than simply a memory; they become lessons that help people learn as much as possible. I was fortunate to come from a rural family and pursue my dream of going to college because my parents were illiterate. After learning this lesson, I realized that life without education would only get harder. As a result, I decided to pursue education rather than move to Thailand with my family to work as an illegal immigrant. As a result of their suffering, my parents do not want me to leave school early like they did.
The day finally came. In 2016, I graduated from high school. I received the great news that I had been chosen to join the Cambodia Rural Students Trust and will begin my academic year at one of the best universities in Cambodia with a full scholarship. I attend Pannasastra University in Cambodia to study Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. This is like another person did this to open my eyes and minds to the realities of life, and education made them better off. Being a part of CRST has made me feel like I have more people's support, sponsors, and opportunities to give back to my community by working with NGOs to build houses, feed hungry families, and clean up the environment. Soon enough, I earned my Business Administration bachelor's degree, which is a milestone life achievement. I was able to secure the greatest job in Phnom Penh with a multinational Singaporean company while pursuing a master's degree in Marketing at National University of Management. I can also help my family out financially and intellectually. Thank you to Cambodia Rural Students Trust, Aviv, Michelle, Jess, Aaron, Steph, Uri, Nili, Neville, Norman, and all of the other CRST members that helped me grow into the person I am today.
Reflection from Loy
I was born and raised in a poor family where my parents were uneducated. I started school when I was 12 years old. It made me feel so demotivated to the point where I wanted to drop out of school. I remember making my name on the school honor list every month, and my uncle was so proud that he even asked me to live with his family and to continue supporting me to school. I could not thank my uncle enough for what he has done and made me who I am today. After going through life experiences 12 years of my high school life, I got a scholarship from Cambodia Rural Students Trust (CRST) to pursuit my bachelor degree. Being a part of CRST really gives me the opportunity to put back to my own community by volunteering such as teaching, building house for needed families, painting school, and other activities that organize by CRST.
I graduated from my bachelor degree in 2021, and I moved to live in Phnom Penh where is the Capital city of Cambodia. And now I am continuing my master degree as a development and international studies. I can say that what I had achieve and be who I am today because of CRST. What I had achieved today it doesn’t mean I don’t have any straggles, but I believe to myself that I can do it. Being a girl is not easy to pursuit higher education, but I can do it and made my family and communities proud of me. I have one message that I always remind myself “don’t waste your time to explain other people to accept who you are.” It is short but it is very meaning full and inspire me. I hope this sharing can inspire other girls to keep going on their dream.
Reflection from Rany
Hi, I am Rany! I joined CRST in 2013. I always dream that someone will raise me up for my education as my family has 7 children who need education. My parents never let anyone give up school even though they work hard, but they earn so little as they do not have high education. My dream came true in 2013, CRST helps me to get the quality education that I never wish I could get!
CRST not only helps me with my education but also always gives me opportunities. I was a very shy and quiet girl, but after joining CRST, I feel more confident talking to the public. CRST always provides me the opportunity to help back to the community. This life experience is so worth it for me. I never thought I could become who I am today without CRST. I could not thank CRST enough. I am now an accounting officer at Mangotango Asia and I am currently studying for a master's degree in Management at the Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia-Phnom Penh. I am sure I will be able to help my community more in the future.
Reflection from Sineang
To stay in the position where I am today is not easy! Today, I had my bachelor's degree in International Relations
17 years ago, I was just a daughter of a fisherman who had a dream to finish only high school (grade twelve) while I do not know what high school means. I decided to leave my hometown to live with other people when I was nine years old. I remember, I cried every night because of homesickness, but my parents keep telling me that hard work will be pay off one day. Keep Bright!
In 2010, my fourth sister told me that she cannot continue her education because of my family condition she hopes that I can fulfill my family dream "A child can have a higher education." I have five sisters, but they stopped going to school while they were in grand one or two. They have to work as factory workers or contraction workers to support the families. My parents left home so early every day (2 am) and come back very late at night. I can tell that all of us do not live with our parents. We live separately since we were young and every single of us needs to live with other people in order to survive.
2020 is the year that I graduated with my bachelor's degree in International Relations, but I officially received a certificate in 2022 due to covid-19. This achievement is not mine but for my sisters, my mother, and my family. My mother told me, "I want to study but your grandfather does not allow me. He kept me in the room if I went to school." Hearing that keep me motivated and said to myself that one day I will bring that certificate for her and now I DID.
Everyone in my family is so happy even my father who cannot join us on my graduation day. He said to me "Thank you, my daughter, Thank you for all your hard work no matter how difficulties you had faced, I am so proud of you." I am speechless to see all the beautiful smile on their face and I really appreciate them that making it happens. Being who I am today is not easy, but at least I do not give up.
Thank you to my parents, my sisters, sponsors, teachers, and friends, and a special thanks to Aviv, Jess, Michelle, Aaron, Steph, Uri, Nili, and all Palti family who stand by me, encourage, and support till now. Without all of you, I might not find myself! Thank you for every single thing you have made for me! Thank you to me, Sineang. Thank you for everything you have done and thanks for bringing a footprint to your next generation. To me, life is like when you think of a song, and you will feel it when you understand the lyrics.
Reflection from Dany
I was born in a small rural floating village, and the most beautiful thing about it is how people live their life. Our houses are raised on stilts and many of us do fishing and small home businesses to make some profits. My favourite activities to do in my village were swimming and fishing, and I always had fun doing so. I sometimes got to help my family at Tonle Sap.
Since my dad passed away, my mom was the only one who raised me and the whole family, so my two brothers decided to quit school at a very young age to help mom. My older sister, cousin and I were the only ones who remained in school.
In 2005, even though my family could not afford financially for me in school, I still made a move to continue my education in a new place since there were not enough grades in my village. At that time, I was just 12 years old, but I learned how to be independent, patient, and working hard. It was hard for me to stay far from my family and to cope with physical and mental issues sometimes, but I was fortunate to be taken care of by a family that was not my relative. They welcomed me to their home and treated me like their children.
In 2011, I joined CRST, so I moved to the city. I had an opportunity to attend the best schools and take responsibility in a variety of projects along with being mentored. Recently I have just celebrated my graduation ceremony together with my families, friends and sponsors. It was an exciting moment that I was waiting for a long time to show you all. Without your support, I will not be able to make it happen. Additionally, I never forget where I am from, what I am doing, and who I am. This also helps to push me up to conquer my next successes in any situation.
I would like to take this time to say thank you to all my supporters including my families, sponsors, and friends, who walked along my path from the beginning until the end of my graduation day. Your aspiration and inspiration is remarkable, and I am touched beyond words to appreciate what each of you has done.
Lastly, I would like you all to be part of my family to celebrate this success and may your life be full of happiness and accomplishment. Thank you.
Reflection from Doeb
My name is Doeb and there are 8 siblings in my family. I am the FIRST child who have the opportunity to graduate from university. My parents were born in genocidal regime and they have never attended school. They did not believe that education can change their children life. Even though my parents did not value education but I strongly believe that only education can break the poverty cycle. My graduation day was a day that I can prove my family to believe in education.
Luckily, I was selected to join CRST in 2011 and I was sent to the best private high school and university in town. I graduated from a Bachelor of International Relations in the best university and I am currently studying another bachelor of Law in Phnom Penh. CRST give me AMAZING opportunity to get real experience as I learn real management and leadership skills. It was an INCREDIBLE year to hold many positions such as Project Manager, Assistant NGO Manager, and Senior Leadership Team member. Without these opportunities, I cannot become who I am today. In this occasion, I would like to THANKS Palti family and CRST for support, energy, and heart you always put on me. I always dream of becoming a best law professor at university in order to inspire Cambodian students to see how important it is for individual to respect the law and participate in political life. I also plan to gain more business experience and ultimately run my own business and continue to support the work of CRST in inspiring and empowering bright rural students, like me, to become the best they can be. My ultimate goal is to join political life for the benefit of all Cambodian citizens and I commit to do my best to change the current situation in Cambodia. THANKS!!
Reflection from Ramet
My name is Ramet. I had just finished my Bachelor Degree of Business Administration at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, and I am currently doing my Master Degree in Phnom Penh, majoring Sale and Marketing. I am so excited to be supported by the Cambodia Rural Students Trust NGO.
Coming from the poor rural family, my parents always had a dream to get their children in school even though we were in the tough condition. They always said to us “we did not have any money to give you but only education, so you could use it for the rest of your life” I was fighting to get in school until grade 10 and then I heard about the Cambodia Rural Students Trust scholarship. I quickly applied and I was accepted with doing three different stages included written, oral, and home visiting. I needed to move to live in the Siem Reap town under the support from the CRST, and I became an independent person.
When I joined the CRST, my life completely changed. The NGO sent me to the best private high school in Siem Reap, called Future Bright International School. I spent two years in that school then I finished my high school life. Then I continued to study at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. I spent another four years to be graduated. At the same time of university life, I was given an opportunity volunteer in different projects and I was promoted to be a Project Y General Manager. Project Y was an educational social enterprise which led and managed by our university students. My role was to make sure that our business generate more profits and mentored all sixth difference departments including, Finance, Operation, Production, Marketing, Sale, Human Resource to follow our Job Description and worked smoothly within their tasks to reach out our business target. After that, I promoted to be an Acting General Manager at Cambodia Rural Students Trust. I looked after the entire NGO and managed over 90 students to lead and completed the number of projects well. With the experiences of the NGO Manager, the leadership and management process skills have been put inside myself and I did my best to make the change in the NGO to reach out and joint our vision in “Breaking the Poverty Cycle Through Education”
After leaving the footprint to lead the NGO and being a role model for students remarkably, I successfully finished my Bachelor Degree. Living everyday life with hope and dream in CRST guided me to the best I can be and to inspire the other people to follow me and to see how powerful it is to believe in yourself and education that can change a poor rural boy to become who I am today.
I would love to take this time to say “THANKS” to Palti family and sponsors from all over the world to support me since I first joint CRST. Without your support, I could not probably even finish my university. It was mean to me and my family to be graduated and received the certificate for the best day of my life. I wish you all the best in your everyday life.!!
Reflection from Sinuon
I am Sinuon and I live in Siem Reap province. I graduated from my high school at FBIS in 2015. In 2022, I also graduated with a bachelor's degree in major, "International Relations" at PUC.
My parents got into a traffic accident, and this was a very bad situation that I would never ever forget. My warm and happy family was gone for just a few minutes. My dad passed away, and my mom needed to be responsible for all the children. My family was faced with financial support. I did know my family would not support my education. I tried to be out of my comfort zone by my volunteering and studying harder. In 2014, CRST announced the scholarship and I was very interested. Then I applied for a CRST scholarship for the first time, yet I was not selected. I did not give up and studied harder. In 2015, I applied for a CRST scholarship again, and I had a strong belief that I could do it. I was selected, and I was so excited. Since that day, my life has started freshly again for the next journey. My education was supported by CRST, such as school fees, health care, allowances, and others. I also still kept volunteering at NGO and hospitals to gain more experience. In 2018, I was promoted to Project G manager and also a member of CRST's senior leadership team. I have learned lots, such as leadership, management, and finding my passion for what I loved. Anyway, I was completely changed to be who I am today.
Through the generous support from CRST, I am able to finish my education. I am currently studying for my master's degree at PUC PP in the major, "International Human Rights." I also received my job as a project officer in Phnom Penh. Finally, I would like to thank Aviv’s family, Gerry, and Harry and Siva for investing in my education since it began until now. to encourage me to move forward on this matter, even though I face many challenges in my journey.
Reflection from Roeun
Hello! I am Roeun Ran, who started school late at age 16 in grade 5th. By Understanding the value of education, it has inspired and motivated me to move forward even though difficult things came through my life. In 2015 I finished high school successfully. However, I had no hope to pursue my education at university because it was expensive school fees. A month later, my friend told me that there was an organization that provided scholarships for students from poor rural families. I was so delighted after hearing that and then I applied for it and passed. "Education had the value higher than Diamond"