Hello! My name is Thea Souphyrom. I was born in Prey Kri village, Chol Kiri district, Kampong Chhnang province. This village is in a remote area along Tenle Sab River. I have four siblings in total. In my family, I am the only person who graduated from college. My brothers and sister had to stop their studies before university because we are from an extremely poor family. They decided to quit their schools at grade 4, grade 5, grade 6 and grade 7 in order to help work to support my family. I grew up with a lot of hardships. Most of my childhood was not sleeping in my tiny house but was sleeping in a jungle, in a rice field, on a riverbank, and on a fishing boat with my father and my brothers. Do you know why? I went to school in the morning but I worked for the rest of the day despite being just a child at that time. I remembered one day my father and I almost died in a river when there was a big rainstorm. My youngest brother almost died in a jungle because he was bitten by a poisonous snake and it took three hours to get to the hospital. My second younger brother was about to drown to death while he was fishing with my parents. I used to drink dirty water in puddles. We could eat enough as we often cooked just a little rice with plant root.
With the support and sacrifices made by my family, I was so lucky to graduate from college. After graduation, I worked in other private schools to earn a living and support my parents and brothers. Before I joined TASSEL, I only worked hard so that I could earn a lot of money. However, after I joined TASSEL, I completely changed my thinking. Day by day, the situations I encountered while I was teaching and doing home visits made me think about my childhood. The situations the students in TASSEL have undergone are almost as horrible as my situation 15 to 20 years ago. There are a lot of sad people and children who need a lot of help. I really want to change this. Since I am from a poor family, I understand how much difficulty the poor are in. I think TASSEL is the right place to work in to help change these horrible situations. I have hope because I see the change in the lives of these kids. I am so thankful that I was given a chance to be part of TASSEL. I love TASSEL and I will give my best to help bring happiness into the lives of the less fortunate.