Kandal province native Mam Sokleang grew up with one ambition: to become a doctor.
“I like medicine. When I was in primary school I always told myself that I had to study hard as much as I can in order to achieve my wish,” said Sokleang.
His parents were poor so he lived in the Trapeang Chhuk pagoda for several years as a student. His breakthrough came when he was awarded a scholarship to study medicine at The University of Health Science in Phnom Penh.
“The first time I came to Phnom Penh, I did not know the city or anyone. Sometimes I got lost. It was a difficult, lonely time,” he recalled.
Supported by the non-profit organization Koma Asia ASPECA, he was given food and lodging at the Langka pagoda. He recounted how food was sometimes scarce, which only reinforced his determination to succeed.
In 2010, Sokleang relocated to Siem Reap for a year to work at the Angkor Hospital for Children before qualifying to become a professional doctor. He decided to return to the rural district of Koh Tom in the Kandal province.
“People not from the rural areas have no idea how difficult it is to receive medical attention, when people are sick and doctors are too far away,” he said. “It was a personal goal to help and take care of people in my hometown.”
Today, the 31-year-old doctor treats patients at Chey Chomneak hospital, a goal he accomplished with great determination and hard work. In addition to his duties, Sokleang was also invited to train in Emergency Obstetric Care.
“Although there is much more to accomplish, I feel that I have achieved considerable success thus far. In the future, I want to improve myself and try to improve people’s health as much as I can,” Sokleang said.