An 11th grade student at Hope for Justice’s Shine Career School in Cambodia has been awarded the prestigious ‘Sharing the Dream’ Scholarship Award.
More than 4,000 students from three Cambodian provinces participated in the timed-essay contest, on the theme of ‘Sharing the Dream’ and the topic ‘Being a Good Person in Society’.
Chantavy*, a survivor who studies at both Hope for Justice and at a local public school, was awarded a $200 prize as one of the winners of the competition, run by the SCG Foundation. She received the award at a prestigious ceremony attended by VIPs including the Cambodian Secretary of State; the Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport; SCG Foundation members; and local and international media.
Her success was later used by the Hope for Justice staff at Shine Career School to encourage other survivors, via a special question-and-answer session telling the others: ‘You can do it too!’
In that session, Chantavy talked about her success and her next steps to achieve her long-term goal of a career as a social worker after graduation.
Shine Operations Director Ngin Sam Onn said Chantavy was a perfect role model for other students: “The girls can see how Chantavy uses her time, what her time management is, what her activities and behavior are both at school and at home. Chantavy spends most of her time studying. If the other girls do the same as Chantavy, they can improve their studying too.”
Project Manager Nourn Vanna said Chantavy’s success would be empowering for her future, and an important step on the ladder to success. Vanna added: “That message applies to all of the students at Shine, not just Chantavy. The other girls can see it and apply it to themselves. It will make them feel more confident and not give up.”
In an interview with Hope for Justice Cambodia’s Storytelling and Teaching Intern, Josephine Rees, Chantavy said: “When I went to the scholarship ceremony I was so happy and excited. This is the first time I’ve won something. In Grade 10 I tried to get the scholarship but didn’t win. I tried again in Grade 11, and now I got it!”
She said she felt “inspired” by the speakers at the award ceremony, and by the power of education to make “dreams come true”.
Discussing her advice for the other girls at the Shine Career School, Chantavy said: “I told them to choose something that they want to be, to choose something that they love, and to work hard to achieve their goals.”
She thanked the Shine staff for all their teaching and advice. “I really want to thank the staff for all their support, and for all the support I have received from Hope for Justice,” she said. She is working to improve her English, and has big plans to get a scholarship to study abroad, and possibly work with the United Nations. She said: “At the moment I just dream about it, because I still have to study in high school. I need to ask as many questions as possible and learn as much as I can.”
The Hope for Justice Cambodia team said Chantavy’s story showed the value of the Shine Career School and the wider restorative care process: nurturing the girls in a supportive academic environment, encouraging them to make positive changes and take back control of their lives. It shows how Hope for Justice provides survivors of trafficking with the resources to hit significant milestones, achieve their dreams, and work towards a brighter, more sustainable future.
* The survivor’s name has been changed for her protection.
To find out more about the success of the Shine Career School, and Hope for Justice’s other projects in Cambodia, click here.