Education has been a major part of my life for as long as can I remember and looking back, I now realize that I have taken it for granted more than once. TASSEL has allowed me to realize the importance of education and how fortunate I really am to have such a high level of education. TASSEL was introduced to me when I was in the 8th grade from a friend of mine who was really involved in it, and he was the one who got me to join. Once, I was part of the group I found out how dire the situation in Cambodia actually was and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of. Ever since then it has been an emotional joyride and helping teach English to children in Cambodia has been the most amazing experience of my life.
I started out fundraising for TASSEL my first year, but I wanted to do more, so I started correcting essays for students as a Writing teacher and I have been doing so for two years. I have also been going to Cambodia in the summer for two years now. Being a Writing teacher has really taught me about how these children have lived and what they had to go through on a daily basis to obtain simple things like food or an education, things that are just given to me. However, all these things were still dependent on my imagination which was based on the essays that were sent to me. When I actually visited Cambodia, I realized that my preconceived notions were completely wrong because of meeting all the people who are a part of TASSEL, the Cambodian teachers, the children and their families. They are all affected by these horrible living conditions, many children have to hunt for food after school even when their parents are working. The Cambodian teachers work hard every day to teach these children but get paid less than someone would for cleaning the dishes in a local restaurant. They however continue to teach the children with a passion and love I have never seen before. All the teachers and students always greet you with a smile on their faces and love in their eyes. With every trip to Cambodia I have learned something new and met new families who all have their own stories of struggles and hardship.
These trips have taught me about the importance of education and the of helping these children and their families in any way possible. I am therefore going to continue my support for TASSEL in the years to come by helping in any way I can. Furthermore, I recommend anyone else who feels really passionate about this to get involved with TASSEL and do what they can to help. It may seem that teenagers are not able to make much significant change but TASSEL is an example of an organization in which anyone can make such a huge difference, especially in the lives of the people in Cambodia, from the teachers to the students and their families.