Longdy’s Story


Longdy_small

Longdy (second from the left)

Longdy had a very difficult life as a child. When he was about 3 years old, he lost the use of his legs to polio. However he still needed to help his mother with her small business selling Khmer noodles. So, he did not have the opportunity to go to school. His mother’s business could not afford to provide for a family of 5 children, so he volunteered to go to Thailand with a broker to work as a beggar.

“I have been arrested and sent back home more than 3 times, but I always went back to beg until one time I was placed in an NGO for six months. After that, I was sent to an organization in Battambang.”

In 2003, Longdy was referred to Hagar. Having a better education was his dream, so he decided to come to Phnom Penh to pursue his studies.  Longdy attended Hagar’s catch up school, the Community Learning Center, for three years, which caught him up to secondary school level. With Hagar’s Education Assistance Project fully paying for his school fees and supplies, he completed education at a secondary school.

Longdy admits that initially he was ashamed of being the oldest student in class, and did not perform well. His self-esteem was very low because he not only was the oldest in his class but also has a disability. When it came to taking his school exit exam, he was convinced he would fail.

“I prayed to God that if he would bless me to pass, I would study harder with my high school curriculums. Then God replied; I did pass, and this achievement made me optimistic about education and life.”

Longdy has become committed to his studies, and wants to not only get his Bachelor’s degree but also Master’s degree in Psychology. His hard work has earned him a scholarship to study in the Royal University of Phnom Penh. His dream is to become a professional Psychologist, and also establish an organization in Cambodia to help children.

He currently works part time at Hagar as a mentor in the Boy Recovery Project. He loves his job because he has the opportunity to speak into the lives of young boys just like him, and give them hope for a better life. He is willing to honestly share about his experiences to encourage the clients to work harder, especially in the field of education.

 

Watch an interview of Longdy with Al Jazeera English