Celebrating International Women’s Day: one girl’s story

Lan Sokpheanna, or ‘Anna’ (5th from left) was born in Takok Phnong village, Cambodia. As a child she never attended school, instead helping her parents with farming and housework. Like most girls in her village, Anna might have been destined to get married and start a family of her own by the age of 15. All this changed in 2010 when UWS built a community school in her village.

Despite being older than most other children attending the school, Anna began learning to read, write and count, completing Grades 1-6. With aspirations to become a teacher, Anna wanted to continue her studies at a government secondary school, but the nearest was several hours’ walk from her village. In order to support students like Anna, UWS have constructed dorm blocks next to government schools in Ratanakiri province, so that even students from the most remote villages can attend high school. Anna now spends the week living in the UWS Oi Ya Dai Dorm Block, returning to her village at weekends to visit her family and collect rice and vegetables for the week. Now in Grade 7, Anna is determined to reach Grade 12 in the next few years so that she can qualify as a teacher.

UWS is committed to helping more girls like Anna receive the education they deserve and realise their potential. We will continue to champion girls’ education and help to transform lives. #BeBoldForChange