Meeting with Thorth:
our administrative
& financial manager

Thorth Thorn has been the administrative and financial manager and the social program director at the Bayon School since 2015. Particularly diligent in his work and always very nice, we wanted to learn more about his origins, his career and his ambitions.
Thorth was born in 1982, just after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime (radical communist movement in power from 1975 to 1979 and responsible for the Cambodian genocide). Unable to give birth in her village, Thorth’s mother chose to deliver her baby at “Site II”, a UN refugee center in the mountains near the Thai border. Thorth grew up in Oddar Meanchey, a province in the north of the country.
As the Cambodian education system was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, the beginning of his schooling was not an easy one. For example, he studied in Grade 1 for three consecutive years — not because he couldn’t get to the next level, but because no school offered to teach higher grades near his village. Thus, he considers that his schooling really started when he was nine.
To enroll in high school, Thorth faced serious problems due to the provinces’ changing administration. Indeed, as the closest school to his home was in the district of Siem Reap, he was not considered a priority student and had a statute of “visiting student”. As this “precarious” statute prevented him to access the household, he decided to ask for help to the organisation Enfants du Mekong.
Thorth’s social condition should have allowed him to benefit from the support of this organization, but Enfants du Mekong could not afford to go to his village in order to evaluate it. Fortunately, his strong motivation led him to be accepted in high school in Grade 10 and to obtain a full support from the association the following year.
However, by the end of Grade 12 (the equivalent of the final exam degree), Thorth didn’t obtain sufficient results to benefit from the Enfants du Mekong ‘s University Scholarship.
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Determined, he remained at the center of Sisophon, asking for the scholarship every day. Once again, his determination paid off; Enfants du Mekong finally awarded him with a scholarship for 2 years.
For his graduate studies, Thorth chose to specialize in Finance & Banking. He was not very good at math, but he loved the logic one finds in accounting. His aptitures in English allowed him to easily understand the documents studied in class (they are rarely translated into Khmer).
During his 6 years of studies in Phnom Penh (which allowed him to get a Master), Thorth had many jobs to finance his schooling. Upon completing his studies, he moved to Siem Reap, where he held 3 jobs at the same time: he worked for Kamonohashi (an association committed against human traffick) during the week, he was a university accounting teacher in the evening and a financial manager of a hostel on the weekend.
Wishing to help future generations and guided by his curiosity, Thorth decided to commit itself to education in 2015. He applied to Bayon School.
He was appointed as Administrative and Financial Director upon his arrival. In 2017, he also took in charge the management of the Bayon’s social programs. He has a particular vision of social workers; for him, their mission is not to help students, but rather to give them the means to develop themselves. If students do not participate in this development, there is no reason to support them financially.
The confidence he gained over the years along with the precious help of Romnea (the accountant with whom he works in tandem) allows him to increase his range of skills beyond administration and finance.
For example, this year Thorth helped Anaïs and Rodrigo down the path of their recommendations on primary school pedagogy. He had no experience in the field of education, but the discussions they shared prompted him to learn about these issues. Education is for him a treasure to be cared for. Beyond that, he also supports Sokhoeurn in the development of the pastry school.
One of his priorities for the coming months will be to improve the students follow-up program. He wants them to develop a professional experience during their studies (just as he developed his when he was younger). He also wants to encourage them to have more ambition and to believe in their dreams. In order to motivate them, Thorth likes repeating a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Always shoot for the moon, because even if it fails you will land among the stars”.
For example, he would like Bayon students to imagine their future beyond Cambodian borders. That is why, according to him, it is so important to learn English and computer skills during their schooling. When he was young, Thorth was passionate about computer science and the study of computers. In addition to providing him with professional skills, it allowed him to develop his logical mind.
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As regards to his family, Thorth is the happy father of 3 children. His son told him last month that he did not want to study but that he would rather work in the rice fields. Raised in Siem Reap, the little boy never knew the country life so Thorth invited him to work in a field for an afternoon. After 2 hours of sweating and strenuous efforts, the boy didn’t want to work in a field any longer and he never ever wished to go back to the countryside. It was, according to Thorth, the best way to make him understand the value and power of education.
Growing up in a comparative environment to the one of the students from the Bayon School, Thorth knows the value of education and wishes to stimulate and guide them. We realise how lucky we are to have someone like him in our team.
, 29 June 2018