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Phirun Vor


My name is Phirun. I was born in a poor family in the countryside not far from Battambang
Province. I loved my family. Even though my family was poor, we lived in harmony in a small
house. There are seven people in my family: my lovely parents, three older sisters, my strong
older brother and me. I am the baby of the family. My life was very memorable when I was a
child. Do you know why? Because I had a lot of experiences and those experiences taught me to
live stronger and smarter. You probably still wonder what are the experiences? The answer is
“the experiences of living in a difficult condition”. I did not start studying at a public school at
the age of 6. Because of poverty, I started studying at the age of 8. From the first time I was at
the public school, I did not have any transportation, not even an old bike. So I went to school on
foot while other kids had nice clothes and a new bicycle as transportation. Because of the family
condition, my siblings decided to stop studying when they were in grade eight or nine. They had
to help my parents to do farming. They had to work so hard at the farm every day to support this
poor family. When I was at primary school and secondary school, I had to study hard and work
hard. In the rainy season, after I left school at 11 o’clock, I had lunch and I had to go to the rice
field to find grass for my cows-- one or two bags of grass almost every day in the rainy season. I
sometimes went fishing and collected vegetables. In the dry season, I helped my family
harvesting rice. Sometimes I could earn 3 dollars a day from helping my neighbors harvesting
the rice. The time went by very fast. When I finished secondary school, my parents encouraged
me to continue studying in high school. It was the time that I had to live far away from my
family and it was also the time that I learned to live on my own. I graduated from high school in
2013. Even though I had to work hard, I was always in the top of my grade and my family was
very proud of me. My difficult condition was very helpful and I enjoyed my driven life at that

Now it is time for university. It was also the time that I had to work even harder than before. My
family could not afford my tuition—it was about 360 dollars a year. I had to work and earn more
money for this. I started having a part-time job as a waiter, a cook, and a bartender during year 1
and year 2. When I was in year 3, I heard about TASSEL. I started working with TASSEL in
2015. The first year I joined TASSEL, I thought that TASSEL was like other organizations –
educating the kids in English. But after working with TASSEL for one year, I could say for
certain that TASSEL is not normal. I have been learning a lot from this work community. I
cannot find any words to explain what this organization has been doing for my nation. TASSEL
has been helping me and my nation a lot – helping local Khmer teachers, providing the kids good
English, sponsoring poor families in a rural area, distributing medicines and clothes, and taking
care of the sick people. For example, for me, even though TASSEL does not provide me the high
pay, it is enough to pay for my tuition and daily expenses. Moreover, TASSEL gives me a
chance to improve my English by having personal classes with foreigners. I love this program.
For my family, they are indebted to TASSEL for supporting my father's medical expenses. If it

weren’t for help from TASSEL, my father would not have lived as long as he did. Finally,
TASSEL has changed my life and Cambodia’s society.

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