November 28, 2022
Born in a farming community in the central lowlands of Cambodia, Sinit’s mother stayed home with the children and her father drove a motor taxi until an accident prevented him from working. Without a consistent income, the family struggled. Sinit’s parents were unable to provide her or her sisters the educational materials, uniforms or transportation they needed to continue and excel in school. Eventually, Sinit’s two older sisters dropped out — the eldest to work in a factory and the other, who was then only in Grade 10, to marry.
Sinit considered a similar path. She loved being in school, but as her family continued to face financial challenges and increased food insecurity, her academics suffered. She would often skip class to support her family at home. When in class, she was often distracted by hunger and anxiety. Without financial support, she felt certain she too would have to leave school forever.
It was at that time that Room to Read partnered with Sinit’s school to implement our Girls’ Education Program. Sinit soon received books, pencils and pens, and the funds needed to pay for her school uniform. The materials and financial assistance allowed her to continue her studies and provided the opportunity to connect with a Room to Read social mobilizer, a woman mentor from her community who understood Sinit’s unique challenges and could tailor her guidance to meet Sinit’s needs.
“Thanks to my social mobilizer,” she remembered, “I’ve learned about building self-confidence and healthy relationships. I’ve acquired facilitation and negotiation skills and learned about goal setting and how to be a leader.”
With the support from her social mobilizer, Sinit not only graduated secondary school, but went on to enroll in the National Polytechnical Institute of Cambodia where she now studies computer science. Her goal is to build a support network of young women who are interested in pursuing careers in the field. Women in the group, she hopes, will learn from one another and provide mentorship to the next generation of young girls passionate about technology.