Overcoming to Learn in Cambodia


From scavenging to being in the classroom, find out how World Vision has helped girls overcome the obstacles they face in getting an education in Cambodia.

Each day, millions of girls around the world can’t step into a classroom. Instead, neglect, abuse, and poverty create seemingly insurmountable barriers to their education, resulting in about 496 million women who can’t read and write today. World Vision works in nearly 100 countries to help girls overcome these barriers so they can attend school, improve their lives, and help advance their communities. 

Dira, left, encourages her 12-year-old sister, Phinat, right, in her studies. Dira is the sixth of eight children and had to leave school in the second grade so she could scavenge for junk to help her family earn money after her father died. Later, with World Vision’s help, she got nonformal education and vocational training and now runs a hairdresser shop in her town of Battambang, Cambodia. Because of her experience, she wants her younger siblings to have a different life, including Phinat. “I want them to study until [they] finish class,” she says. “I don’t want Phinat to scavenge because she is too young. Scavengers face risks, such as rape and traffic accidents.” Phinat has the second-highest grades in her class of 30 students. “My older sister encourages me to study hard,” Phinat says. “She doesn’t allow me to pick up junk.”

Written by Kristy J. O'Hara

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