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Youth of the week: Ouk Visoth

Youth of the week: Ouk Visoth

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Founder of Independent Consultant and Reviewer, and owner of grilled fish shop, Kim San 179

Dressed smartly, a cane in his hand, a man with one foot walks slowly through the street. At the age of 33, with a decade of professional experience, Ouk Visoth is not only a founder of the successful business Independent Consultant and Reviewer, but also owns a grilled-fish business.

Despite his disability, he has made a success of himself in several sectors.

Growing up in poverty motivated Visoth to do his best in his study – which he saw as an escape route. He was the only disabled student in his primary school: one of his feet was permanently maimed after he used the wrong vaccine.

Although he had to depend on his cane, Visoth got up early every day to prepare himself and walked to school alone from his home in Chamkamorn to Sothearos Primary School.

At school, his classmates mocked him. But, never disappointed or depressed by the taunts, Visoth used them as motivation to prove people wrong through hard work.

Recalling his struggle, Visoth said: “At first, no one accepted me, or gave me the time of day. But because I worked hard, I became a smart student. Not only my classmates, but everyone at school knew and respected me. The way I see it, if people who are not disabled can do something, I must be able to do it as well. But if I can do something that able-bodied people cannot do, it is most special.”

As a boy, he loved business. He always told himself that one day he’d be a successful businessman and help other poor people.

In late 2001, after he graduated from two years at Maryknoll Wat Than Skills Training Centre, he became an accountant and teacher. He’s also worked at World Vision Cambodia, the National Centre of Disabled Persons and the Frangipani Villa. He changed his work frequently because he wanted new experiences.

A principled man, Visoth says: “In order to work well, we shouldn’t work just for the money. We should work for experiences and good results. Getting higher positions is not easy, especially for disabled people like me. But through my hard work and the results I get, especially when I concentrate on the position I want, I always get that position. When I get it, the salary is also increased.”

Visoth always wanted to own a business. In 2008, he established Independent Consultant and Reviewer, which is doing well. But his success didn’t stop there. He then started a grilled-fish business, Kim San.

The business has expanded and he now owns five branches.

“In order to be successful in business, we must have knowledge, experience and the necessary budget. But we must also know how to strategise and research. We should know our rivals clearly, and find methods to reinforce our business in the market through identifying our strengths,” he says.

By way of advice for other disabled people, Visoth says: “As human beings, we mustn’t be disappointed I life. We mustn’t let our disadvantages be obstacles that mean we can’t do the same things as other people. On the other hand, we must be able to compare ourselves to the others, to identify their strong points. If we can make our lives successful, other people will value us and won’t look down on us.”

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