My name is Samnieng. I am 27 years old. I have four siblings (three brothers and one sister). I am the oldest child in my family. My father is a landmine victim. He can’t work well. Throughout my childhood, I had to work and help my father’s work. I used to work at a construction site when I needed some money to support my studies. I started learning English when I was in high school. It was very difficult for me because I was an adult who studied with children. Life was not easy during that time. I had to work hard to earn money by myself. There were also a lot of people in my family and my mother could not support my brothers and me very well. Sometimes I had no money to pay for my English school. I had to beg my English teacher to excuse me from paying the school fees for one or two months. After I graduated from high school, I was happy but I was also hopeless because I had no money to study at university. I tried to apply for scholarships from universities in my province, but I didn’t get any. I felt so hopeless with my life. Finally, one of my friends told me about scholarship programs at Dewey International University. I passed a test at Dewey and paid one hundred dollars per year. Dewey is where I met Teacher Neong, Teacher Phyrom, and Teacher Sarem.
When I was at university, I wanted to work as a businessman because I thought that being rich could change someone’s life. I decided to work in a private school, but I felt so hopeless because they cared only about rich students and not about the quality of education. At that time, I decided to stop working in that private school and then started to work for an NGO. I thought that working in the NGO would let me help the poor, but in fact, it didn’t. There were many corrupt NGOs in Cambodia that only wanted to get more money from foreigners. I was stressed because this was different from my goal, which was to help the poor. During that time, Teacher Noeng talked to me about TASSEL. I trusted Teacher Noeng because he was my classmate.
I have been working with TASSEL for 5 years and am still very happy with TASSEL because I can help more poor people. TASSEL’s specific mission is very different from what I know of other NGOs. TASSEL teachers are like my brothers and sisters. They always help me when I have a problem, they always motivate me when I feel hopeless, and they always show me what is good and what is bad. TASSEL students are cute and good students. They respect and listen to the teachers. They study to work hard everyday. I feel so happy when I teach TASSEL students. They always motivate me to work harder and harder. They are a good next generation for Cambodia. The TASSEL program is good. All the teachers must train before they teach their students. Some of them are allowed to train with foreign teachers. TASSEL focuses on the quality of education, That is why all the teachers train every day with foreign teachers and Khmer leaders. TASSEL’s love is the most important thing in transforming people’s hearts. I love the way TASSEL explains to the students and I hope in the future all children and people will love and help each other. Finally, TASSEL is the best organization that can help poor people and change their hearts. I hope all foreigners will continue to help and support us forever.