A confident gait, a cheerful smile and a look of hope. When you meet Sok Tith, you see a 21-year-old who, like many others at his age, is eager to pursue his dreams. It is therefore difficult at first glance to imagine the story behind such an enthusiastic face.
He is a modest but generous man who has agreed to talk about how Taramana helped him become the man he is today.
Ten years ago… an already very promising student
Just as we did in the interviews with Dara and Vuthny, we came back with Sok Tith on his journey at the centre. “I arrived in Taramana in 2008. Of the six years I spent there, I mainly remember my classmates and teachers. They gave me the desire to learn and to be a good student. At the time, my favourite subjects were Khmer and mathematics. I also loved playing football.” His face lights up when he talks about his time with the association.
He also recalls the many parties that were organized for the children of Taramana, before confiding his fondest memory: “In grade 3, I was rewarded for finishing first in the class. My teachers took me, along with the other best students, to the animal park in Phnom Tamao. That little trip made a big impression on me. I was so happy!”
“Taramana gave me a roof over my head, daily meals, an education”
When asked what Taramana means to him, his answer is immediate: “Taramana means everything to me. It has played a decisive role in my future. Before joining the association, I was homeless. Taramana has given me a roof over my head, daily meals, education and the opportunity to participate in many activities such as football, rugby, tennis, yoga… It is really good that Taramana exists, both for me and for other children from poor families.”
Sok Tith is one of the students living in the most difficult conditions. Although he shows great determination, he is one of those who think a lot. “I’ve encountered many obstacles in my life and I’ve made mistakes. When I think about it too much or when I’m stressed, I like to sit under a tree and read a book or listen to music. Football and video games also help me to take my mind off things when I have free time.”
A brighter future ahead
Even though he has come a long way, this has never stopped him from moving forward and giving himself the means to build his life as he wishes. He even tried his hand at boxing four years ago to earn some money. Today, Sok Tith is concentrating on his studies and is quietly preparing his departure for Thailand, where he will go to Ubon University to start a bachelor’s degree.
Indeed, thanks to his efforts, he has won a scholarship for excellence and has been able to join a university exchange program that covers his tuition and accommodation costs. He wants to specialize in computer science, a field he is passionate about, to become a developer. But a first step is necessary: as the courses are entirely given in the language of his future host country, he has been following a training course to learn Thai for 6 months. A new challenge that Sok Tith is ready to take up! And he is already thinking about the next step:
“When I will have finished my Bachelor’s degree, I wish to continue with a Master’s degree, always in the same field, with a good job to be able to support my family. And once my degree is obtained, I would also like to be able to help out in Taramana if I need it.” A proposal that we keep in mind. In the meantime, Taramana continues to support Sok Tith financially for his everyday needs during his studies in Thailand. We wish him a lot of success and great adventures for this new chapter of his life!