Scholar PHEM SOVIN’s Family
Cambodia is a developing country with a narrow economic base. The garment, tourism, and construction sectors have been driving economic growth and job creation for Cambodia the last few years while the agricultural sector, which a majority of Cambodians rely on for their livelihoods, remain poor and unstable. Despite several consecutive years of double-digit economic growth, the poverty rate has remained high, especially in rural areas. The growth has only resulted in a reduction in the poverty rate of 1 percent per year and income distribution is notably uneven, which means growth is not well shared among Cambodian people. This poverty is the obstacle for education in Cambodia.
The family of scholar Phem Sovin is one of rural families; Sovin is 10 years old and she studies at grade 5 in Krallanh primary school. Sovin’ s family has five members, mother, widow, and four siblings and she is a third child of her family.
Sovin’s mother said that “It is a heavy burden for me to take care of the whole family and my daughter Sovin also help me to survive the family. I am a worker at shoes factory CANSPORT; I have to work ten hours per day, and get income about US$65 to US$70 per month”.
She added “This amount cannot cover the living condition of my family, thus my daughter Sovin has to help the family to get income to supplement the family’s need. She has to work at weekend and during school holiday as rice harvesting and cultivating with the daily income US$2.5 per day; it is not a regular work that she could work two or three months with average income US$30 to US$40 a year, and moreover she has to do housekeeping after school”.
She said that ”The monthly average expense for my family is about US$200 per month; it is US$40 for rice, US$ 80 for foodstuff, US$10 for medicine, US$30 for children to school and US$50 for others, thus I have to get loan from neighbors to supplement the need every year, and the most worst condition for my family when someone get sickness. Though, my family faces with hard living condition, I do struggle for my son and daughter to study so that they have good future; Sovin wishes to be a professional worker and wishes to work at the garment factory nearby the village, and I also want her to be a professional worker so that she could get high salary; Sovin has to study to complete grade 9 and she has to continue at vocational training school for one or two years to become the professional worker. I do not want my daughter and son to have the same destiny as me, because I finished at grade 3”.


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