Do what you like, Like what you do!

“Helping Cambodian people and children to get out of poverty is my passion and goal.” — Ponika.

Since I was young, I have always asked myself what can I do for my country? I have seen lots of problems and issues happen in the society so I have wanted to do something to make it changes. I want to contribute to the country’s improvement. Actually, there are many things that we can do for our country if we want to do. Let ask yourself which field would you like to choose? For me, I choose to dealing with social issues. That is the reason why I chose International Relations as my major when I was in college.

I was walking on the wrong path of my career back then. I was young and desperately wanted to be employed. As a result, I worked in a private company. I wore fancy office uniform and high-heels plus fancy bag. After working there for almost 2 years, I learned that it is not what I have dreamed of. So I decided to choose another path.

Now, I am working in an NGO that helps Cambodia’s most impoverished children. My job is to engage good relations between Cambodian children and various sponsors from all around the world. I have no longer wore such fancy clothes nor bag but jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and backpack. It is not because it is prohibited but it’s because it’s more convenience and comfortable. I also stopped driving a car to school or work but a motorcycle and sometimes a bicycle. Everyday, I have to go to the kids’ schools which are close to the former dump site of Phnom Penh in Steung Meanchey area. Sometimes, I ride a bicycle across the garbage to meet my children. During rainy season, there road is full of dirty mud while during dry season, the road is full of dust and wasted plastic bags. This job is not for those who care about beauty and want to be in a comfort zone because you have to travel under the sunlight and dirty environment almost everyday.

The former dump site of Phnom Penh (The source of income of thousand Cambodian families in Steung Meanchey)

From time to time, I have started to love my job more and more. I have never cared about the difficulties nor beauty. What are the reasons behind this? Well… That’s because of the kids I am working with. They show me their commitment toward education, the incredibly change they have made after they joined CCF. If you get a chance to listen to their life stories, your heart will be broken into pieces like I did. They spent their childhood life hunting for garbage on a big mountain of trashes while other children enjoying school, making new friends, and have lots of foods to eat. The best place for them to play with their friends is a slam community that is surrounded by bad smell, dirty mud, and wasted plastic bags. They were so innocent! They did not know how their life would be in the future.A miracle happened when, Scott Neeson, the founder of CCF, the former Hollywood producer, gave up his fancy life and wealth to help these kids out of darkness. He is a hero and a father of all the children in Steung Meanchey community. More than 2,000 kids were able to go to school and get an education. CCF not only help them to go to school but also provides so many supports to them and their families. This is what I am really proud of being a CCF staff.

I love going to their schools, seeing them, and laughing with them. What makes me really happy is when they can sing and speak English very well. Their sponsors and their families can see the bright future ahead of them! When I ask them what do you want to be in the future? The most common careers for them are teacher, doctor, lawyer, and police. Then I asked them do you know how many years you have to study in order to make your dream come true? They have no idea about that yet they said they will make it happen no matter how long will it takes. I smile and silently hope their dreams will come true! I truly understand that their future paths are hundred times harder than mine because they have family matter to deal with not just study.

Another thing that I can do for them is being their role model! I can show them the result of going to school and get an education. They understand it easier when I show them the evident and the evident that I can show them is myself, my own experience, and where I am right now. I told them that if I didn’t go to school when I was young, I wouldn’t had today! I treat them all like my own brothers and sisters. I love them and care them just like my own siblings. When I heard that they have serious illness, I was so worried and I try to think of what I can help them.

No matter how hard my job is, I have never wanted to quit. Whenever I have problems, I always think of them. I have told myself that my problem is nothing comparing to their problems. They are my big motivation and encouragement to work even harder! Not to mention about my team as I already talked about them in the previous post (My “Incredible Team” ❤️).

With this working experience, I started to understand the meaning of “Do what you like and like what you do”. When you work in a field that you like, you will never feel like working but doing your favorite activity.

I am glad to be a part of CCF! I am glad make a little change in those children’s life! I am glad to be their sister and their role model! :-)