Every week Lift’s writers search the Kingdom for a student or young professional who is doing something extraordinary. They will receive a $50 gift certificate from Boston Books. To nominate a Cambodian youth you know, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The young community leader teaches locals how to improve their work-specific skills, and thereby their livelihood.
Bun Borey not only teaches classes, he meets with villagers to answer specific questions and trouble shoot.
While job markets are very competitive and limited, most university students try to get work experience through volunteering or internships at local organisations in the hope of getting a good job after their graduation.
But Bun Borey, 22, a year-four student at the University of Management and Economics in Battambang province, has started his own work experience by creating a student association to work closely with the community.
Borey has recreated the Student Association for Supporting Farmers, or SASF, after it went bankrupt in 2008 due to insufficient funds.
In order to recreate the SASF successfully, Borey asked all his fellow students at UME to help him by contributing 10,000 riels each to the association.
“We voluntarily spend our own money every month doing charity and community activities,” he said.
Borey, a sub-director of the SASF, said the main goals of the body is to help poor people in the community and train them about sanitation, teach them how to feed fish, grow mushrooms, rice and get them to express their opinions when they face problems in their families, to help the government reduce poverty and give students invaluable experiences with community activities.
Borey added that his association also helps poor people learn how to make better lives and it helps them when they face problems.
According to Borey, the SASF has more than 40 members and they usually go to train people in the community twice a month. They also donate 15 kilos of rice to each family, one mosquito net, two bottles of soy sauce, five packages of noodles and one scarf and give the local authority 20,000 riels.
“I feel very happy and proud of myself because I can help poor people and gain a lot of work experience,” he said.
He continues to get involved with community activities, which makes his studies become better because he can put what he has learned from school into practice. He also can reflect on his work and how it relates to his studies.
“I do not want to stop working with the community because I want to reduce poverty in Cambodia,” he said.
However, Borey faces some challenges related to his work.
He explained that he finds it hard to communicate with some local authorities and has to pay money to them, and the roads to some communities are very difficult to travel.
Besides involving closely with local communities, Borey also formed an English club at his university in 2010, aimed at improving the students’ English knowledge and giving them the confidence to speak English through group discussions and debates and sharing general knowledge with each other, particularly how to write curriculum vitae.
He said his knowledge of English is now much better and he is more confident expressing his opinions in English and has a good relationship with other students after forming the English club.
“Youth learn to help each other without discrimination and smart students always help explain things to poor students through the English club,” he added.
Having seen his talent and willingness to help society, Borey was recently selected to work as a community coordinator for a local non government organisation called Irach, which is based in Steung Treng province.
Irach is a small non government organisation aiming to provide students with new technology such as how to use the internet and email.
However, Borey refuses to accept that position because he is busy studying and working at his association. Written by Ngo Menghourng.