Meet Mr. Lum El
Teacher of English at Feeding Dreams Cambodia
Even though I live, currently, in Siem Reap I come from Kampong Cham Province. Soon after I was born I went to live with my uncle as it was impossible for my parents to provide for whole family. There were three girls and one older brother already in the family. They are all now married.
My memories of working with my uncle are good. I looked after the cows and helped other work on the farm. The remote area where I lived was a nice place to live but, as I look back now, it was very poor. Work was hard. Often the demands of farm work meant that I just didn’t get to school as often as I should. This is very common in Cambodia. Also, the school was located 7 kilometres from my uncle’s farm so, together with almost non-existent roads, I was forced to give up my education, completely, on two separate occasions.
I remember with some heartache my uncle saying to me “we can regrow rice but we cannot regrow children”. At this very early age, my uncle made me understand that education would be the only way out of poverty for me. However I owe a deep gratitude to my uncle and to my family.
In 2010, I moved to Siem Reap in order to ‘restart’ my education. I was lucky enough to stay with my cousin a monk at the Kok Chork Pagoda as there was no way I could pay for a rent room for myself. However, I was able to learn some English from one of the Monks at the Pagoda.
To finance my general and University studies I worked as a bartender and taught English. I am proud to say I now have a Bachelor Degree in Literature from the University of South East Asia. I can say that University is a great place to meet new friends, mature and appreciate the joy and value of leaning.
Feeding Dreams is an amazing organization and I am privileged to be a teacher at this organization. I love teaching because I hope to be able to pass on to them what I have learned and to bring them some happiness through the excitement of learning. Sharing is a generous act which can help to improve society. Compassion plus education equals Hope.