“I am thrilled to know that VisionFund granted me a scholarship to support my schooling for three years. My parents don’t need to pay for my school materials and I can now save up for nice jewelry,” says Lai Seam with a smile.
Lai Seam, 11 years old, is the only daughter living with her parents and an old grandmother in Kandal province. She lives in a small house on the water. With her glowing and friendly face, Lai Seam shines in the whole village and especially at school.
She shines because of her profound love of education. “Our neighbors are so impressed by her hardwork in school; no other kids at her age study as hard as her. My husband, my mother and I are so proud of her,” says her mother.
Lai Seam has always been motivated to wake up as early as her mother does to study, usually on a wooden table made by her father, with the light of the oil-lamp, and to finish her day studying again at night.
Lai Seam also teaches Khmer language and basic Math to her schoolmates who are younger or even at her age, under the house of an old woman nearby. “I love teaching others. I teach Khmer consonants and vowels, and math for free to almost 10 kids in the village,” she says.
“She is an outstanding student in class. Her classmates like her a lot because she likes to help them solve the exercises. She is also kind-hearted. When she sees a child with a sad face with nothing to eat, she gives part of her allowance to that kid. If she has 500KH ($0.125 USD), she would give 200KH”, says her father
Introduced to VisionFund by a CSO in 2010, Lai Seam’s parents received a first loan of US$100. They bought food and a Motorbike, US$150, to create Moto Taxi business run by her father. From a small income of only about US$4, they then could earn up to US$10 per day. The income earned, however, was not enough, since they needed to take care of their sick mother. The second loan was US$100 for paying debts caused by the grandmother’s sickness and for buying basic needs such as food, rice, and utilities. In 2012, they received a third loan of US$100 to buy fishing tools, medicine and some other basic needs. Her last loan of US$150 was used to fix the motorbike, repay the medical cost of their grandmother’s sickness, and buy food.
The family lives on the uncertain income from the mother’s job to get rid of the grass from community members’ farm land, at about US$4.125 per day, and the father’s job, Moto taxi, at about US$3.5. “When my mother gets sick, I need to stay home and take good care of her, so I could not earn any for several days,” says Lai Seam’s mother.
“I was absolutely excited when I found out that VisionFund granted my daughter a three-year scholarship. I know she loves education. I have hope that she will continue to a higher education. Her potential is so high, and she will be able to make it very well,” says Lai Seam’s mother.
In her free time, Lai Seam helps her mother buy groceries, cook rice, and take care of her sick grandmother. “I want to be a doctor because I used to see doctors earning a lot of money from treating patients. I will study hard. I also will save; I want to have a gold necklace,” says Lai Seam.