“The centre for homeless children has changed my life. Before, I did not have any hope. I did not know where to go. But now, I can read and write thanks to my education. Now I know my hopes of becoming a teacher can become a reality,” says Yorn Vanthorn, 12 years old. For this boy, the time he wandered like a lost soul has been over for a long time.
Yorn Vanthorn is from a community in Neak Loeung region in the province of Prey Veng and his parents are divorced. He lives with his mother and three siblings. Because of poverty, he did not have the chance to go to school. Everyday, he had to work to help his mother.
Every morning he saw her leaving for the market where she sold vegetables. During this time, he was going with his brothers and sisters to the Ferry port to beg and collect waste such as cans and bottles that they would sell. His life was even more difficult because his mother was in debt. She couldn’t afford to pay for meals everyday or provide him with medical attention when he was sick. Illnesses happened quite frequently because of being in an unclean environment.
At school: keys to happiness and success
His life changed in 2011 when his mother agreed to send him and his brothers and sisters to the Damnoek Toek Center (DNT). In partnership with Aide et Action, the Centre helps children living and / or working on the streets. Everyday he learns, he plays and he eats with other children. Moreover, he feels healthier with regular medical visits which also reduces costs for his mother.
Yorn Vanthorn is a dynamic, intelligent and ambitious child. With these qualities, he became the best student in his class. “I like to learn in the centre. Now I can read, write and do Maths. My teacher takes good care of me,” he says with a smile. His efforts were rewarded already. He will be sent to attend classes in a public school this coming academic year. “I have to work hard at school and at home. It is important for me so I can become a good teacher in the future,” he added with conviction.