My name is Hang. I am a 12 year old girl. I was born on the border of Cambodia and Vietnam. My parents are rubbish collectors. I am the second child in my family, and I have 2 brothers and a sister.
Since the age of 10, I have gone out collecting rubbish. Sometimes, I would leave home at 5 o’clock in the morning, and when I returned around 10 I had to do all the clothes washing. After lunch, I had to go back to collect rubbish again.
My family is very poor and my father had a serious sickness, but he’s still collecting rubbish to support the family – for our house rent, and to pay for going to hospital.
I felt hopeless and unhappy when I saw other children going to school with their friends. I wished that one day I could go to school and have lots of friends like them.
One day, I heard that the Bridge of Hope was opening a school in my village. I was so glad to hear that I could attend that school, and now my dream has come true. In the school there are many good teachers and I have lots of friends.
Every time I come to school I feel so happy because my teachers always encourage and love me. What’s more, this school gave me study materials and a nice uniform. We also have a snack time, and I can get rice for my family if I come to study every day.
I studied a bit of Vietnamese with a different organization but I stopped as I need to know Khmer language because I’m living in Cambodia. If I don’t study Khmer I will not have a job in the future.
Since I’ve been studying in the Bridge of Hope school my mum has stopped me collecting rubbish and wasting time in the streets. Now, I get some rice to help my family, and my mum encourages me to study hard so I can have a better future.
I used to curse a lot, and would not listen to my mum when she told me not to. But now, my teacher encourages me to love and respect my parents, and I have not been cursing anymore because I want to be a good girl. Now I love my brothers and sister and my parents. I have an older brother who collects rubbish – I told him to come study with me but he said no because he doesn’t like to study.
I love Bridge of Hope School and love my teacher so much. I never miss a day of school. I always enjoy coming to study. Also, I can do my homework and practice reading, as I have more time because I do not need to go to collect rubbish. I always get a good score in my class. Now I have hope and I want to be a teacher in the future. I know now my family is very poor but I think our life will change someday when I can get knowledge and a job.