Tina is 23 years old and was born in Thmey Village, Kampong Thom. She has 1 older brother, 2 elder sisters and 2 younger sisters. Her parents worked as rice farmers and Tina remembers that her father worked very hard and the family were devastated when he died suddenly aged just 48.
After the death of her father life became very difficult; her mother was sick and suffered from alcoholism and depression meaning often she could not work and there was no food to eat.
After Tina finished primary school a kind uncle brought her to live with him in Siem Reap so she could attend Angkor High School. Her uncle was working as a cleaner in the hospital so after her studies, Tina used to help him work and cook for him also.
After Tina completed grade 9 she got a job earning $50 per month working in a small market shop and moved into a small rented room which costs $25 per month. Tina’s younger sister moved in with her to help pay for food and rent and for high school fees but the young pair could not survive.
Tina had to make the devastating decision to end her education and work in a high-class restaurant in the hub of downtown Siem Reap. The hours were long and the salary was just $90 per month, but importantly, Tina realized her passion and skill and natural ability to speak English.
After 3 years working at the restaurant Tina had continued teaching herself English and was given the opportunity of gaining teaching experience at a local English speaking school. It was then Tina heard about the position at Feeding Dreams and came for an interview.
We were amazed with Tina- her English ability, her drive and determination and her empathy for impoverished children made her the perfect fit for our school. Tina works very hard and sends 50% of her salary home to her mother to buy food and medicine for the rest of the family. The remainder of her salary is spend on rent, utilities and gasoline for her old moto. Tina has dreams of returning to education herself and going on to study medicine, and even though life is tough she always remains positive and smiling.