Mai and Marcel, who initiated our action
“To help my country to recover, I created an NGO that provides education to children.”
I am Cambodian. I studied in Lycée Descartes in Phnom Penh, then in Lyon University, France, majoring in Pharmacy. When the Khmers Rouges took the city, I took refuge in the Embassy of France and could escape from them with my two daughters. But my husband and parents were taken… I came back to Cambodia in 1996, hoping I could find them. Today I know they are gone forever. To help my country to recover, I then volunteered for the Ministry of Health. With friends, we have created an NGO that provides education to the disadvantaged children who live in the Angkor Temple Area.
“I met an old bonze monk who was taking care of orphans. I pledged I would give rice to his pagoda.
I arrived in Cambodia in 1993 to visit Angkor. During my second visit there, the director of a Siem Reap bank gave me the opportunity me to help an old bonze monk who was sheltering orphans. I pledged to give rice to his pagoda. During one of my visits to the pagoda, the monk suffered a fatal stroke. I felt I had been entrusted with the mission to continue his action. I hired a teacher to give classes to the orphans. The news of the new school spread like wildfire and soon children from modest families in the villages neighboring Angkor began to join the classes. The school has been running according to the official Cambodian School Program since 1997.