Lak Sam Ath, a quality control inspector, shows silk ornament products he helped prepare for export.
Lak Sam Ath, a quality control inspector, shows silk ornament products he helped prepare for

A time for change

After spending 12 long years as a sugarcane farm worker in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province, Lak Sam Ath, 27, knew it was time for a change.

Lak was born into a poor family of five siblings and he struggled to support his family on his meager wages. Providing for his family on low pay was just one of the significant obstacles he faced in the span of his young life. Lak contracted polio at a young age and walks using a prosthetic support.

After much hard work, Lak was able to complete high school in 2005. Diploma in hand, Lak sought guidance from friends and thought long about his future path. After much deliberation, he decided to leave his family in Svay Rieng province –84 miles from Phnom Penh – in the hopes of creating a better life from him and his family back home.

A new beginning in a new city

Lak’s journey to Cambodia’ capitol was the first his life. He shared a room with an acquaintance from another province who had similar ambitions.

During his time in the city, Lak received the opportunity to undergo a training course in administration offered by local nongovernmental organization Cambodian Women’s Development Association(CWDA). This course provided the foundation on which he was able to build a fresh start for his life.

Today, Lak works as a quality control inspector of silk ornaments, scarf, bags, woods carving products for Watthan Artisans Cambodia (WAC) after receiving training from WAC with the help of World Vision Cambodia.

Big ambitions, big achievements

“My life has changed tremendously since I have worked for WAC for nearly four years,” Lak said. “Even though I am alone and it is hard to survive in the city with small income, I am optimistic and still have hope, a hope to work in a government establishment or ministry when I graduate.”

As a disabled person, Lak received a full scholarship from Western University, one of the leading private universities in Cambodia. He is now a senior student majoring in finance and banking. He hopes he can become a government officer in the future and help his country until he retires, making life better for fellow citizens like him.

About the Author – Bun Sophal

A better life through education and trade 1
Sophal Bun is an Export Consultant for Export Assistance Program Cambodia. He received a full scholarship to obtain an MA in International Journalism Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2013 and an MA in Development Studies from Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2012.