Education Is The Only Way Out Of Poverty: Meakh Sreydeth

Article by

Un Raksmey

19-year-old electrical engineering student Ms. Meakh Sreydeth, from Takeo province, has been living in poverty since she was a child. She was born into a poor family and her situation worsened after her parents divorced. However, thanks to a scholarship provided by KMH Foundation, Sreydeth is working to build her skills and become a successful Electrical Engineer.

Although Cambodia's poverty rate has dropped from 53% in 2004 to 20.5% in 2011,  Sreydeth’s situation is similar to many others who live in rural areas and still struggle to generate enough income for their family.  With this, opportunities for children to access education are also reduced because they need to help support their family and often miss school to work, or because they simply can’t afford it.

For Sredeth, after her parents divorced, she has lived with grandparents who are rice and vegetable farmers.

“Growing vegetable for sale can generate 10,000 riels per day. However because there is not enough water and my grandparents have become older, we cannot grow much now,” Sreydeth said. “This was very difficult for me because we were poor and  I also didn't live with my parents like other kids did,” she added.

Despite the challenges that she faced, Sreydeth believed that education could elevate her life and she committed to finding a way to go to school.

“I noticed that uneducated people always have short ideas and it’s hard for them to escape  poverty, that’s why I need to be educated,” said Sreydeth.

Don Bosco’s Scholarship Program Executive, Um Kenvichhika, in her office.

In 2018 Sreydeth set her sights on attending Don Bosco Technical School. She had seen that people in her community who had studied there were able to get good jobs and income after graduating.

“I decided to study at Don Bosco because this school helps poor people like me,” she said.

Sreydeth and her grandparents at their hometown in Takeo Province.

Don Bosco has a rigorous assessment process for all students, only accepting those who show high potential and are from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ms. Um Kenvichhika, Don Bosco’s Scholarship Program Executive, first met Sreydeth and supported her acceptance into Don Bosco. “We help many students every year, especially those who are from poor families, and Sreydeth is one among them... We try to help as much as we can,” Um Kenvichhika said.

Don Bosco’s Scholarship Program Executive, Um Kenvichhika, in her office.

To support students studying at Don Bosco, ISI GROUP’s KMH Foundation has developed a new scholarship program that aids students’ education, provides access to training and improves technical skills. The scholarship fully funds top-performing Don Bosco students’ study for their diploma and includes work experience at ISI STEEL.

Due to her excellent results at Don Bosco,  Sreydeth was selected for this scholarship program.  

“I feel so excited to receive this great opportunity because it will allow me to reach my dream and move away from poverty in the future,” Sreydeth said.

“I want to be a professional Electrical Engineer to help my family and other poor people,” she added.

Besides study, the 19-year-old also teaches English to children in the community near her school every weekend. She wants to help other children have more access to education as well.

“I am so excited to help kids learn English on the weekend…. I am happy to help because I know the importance of education for them,” Sreydeth said.

ISI GROUP’s support of scholarship programs like this one are driven by our commitment to give back to Cambodian communities. Our CSR activities are facilitated through  ISI GROUP’s  KMH Foundation, which promotes positive social change through education, healthcare, sports and housing.