Chanda is a bright, spirited, determined 24-year-old from Son Long Village, Chansor Commune at Sonikum and has been a scholar in our GATE program since the 9th grade.
Graduating from GATE in 2015, she knew she wanted to continue her studies, but coming from poverty, the needs of her family took priority and she began work as service staff at a restaurant in Siem Reap Town.
“I went to work immediately in 2015 as my parents couldn’t pay for my school fees. I earned $90 a month, giving $30 to family and saving the rest for study. My mother then had a traffic accident and couldn’t work. As if that wasn’t pressure enough, my Father also had an accident, making things even worse. But I’ve always had a strong urge to study. I am very determined.”
The next year she began her foundational year at university with a 50% discount. That’s when she heard about our CATALYST program from fellow student, Somang. Somang is currently studying Chemistry under support from the CATALYST program, while working as a cook to support herself.
Somang shared information about CATALYST with Chanda and the rest was as they say — history! Chanda applied and joined the program. She learned cooking and pastry chefing informally as a cook assistant, working her way up.
Last July, Chanda was promoted to Frangipani Villa Hotel as a Pastry Chef Commisserie 2 and in June she will be promoted once again! All the while, she’s been at University and is now in year 3 of her Khmer Literature course.
“I love pastry chefing! It is my dream that in the future I will open a small bakery/patisserie as well as become a primary school teacher, teaching Khmer Literature at a private institution for my living.”