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By Emily Martin

Meet the Crew – Kimhong KHIN

Kimhong, at 23, is the newly appointed Phare Boutique Supervisor. She’s only been working for Phare 6 months and already she has moved from Ticket Clerk to her current position! This super-woman is working full-time and studying IT at university.

When did you start working at Phare?

I started working here about 6 months ago. At first I was working part time as a ticketing clerk – just 4 hours a day. Then I started doing ticketing clerk and boutique assistant full time – so 8 hours a day and then now, I am a boutique supervisor.

I have only been here 6 months and maybe I have had a new contract every month!

When started working here I wanted to know what everyone does. What they to during the night, what they do during the day. I did so much over time! I was just volunteering my time because I wanted to learn everything.

When I go to work somewhere, maybe a big company, I like to know everything about it. It makes me work better as can explain to the costumers I deal with about the organisation.

Why is it important to tell costumers about the organisation?

You know the first time I came here I had already been to Battambang and I had fallen in love with Phare and what they do. I want to share my opinion with other people so that they know more about Phare.

All the people, well most of the people who come to Phare, I make sure I explain, explain, explain. When they come to buy a ticket and I have time during the day I can spend time with them to tell them about our history… we have 20 years of Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang and they are the reason we are here. I feel like if the costumers learn about this, they can love Phare as much as I do.

Why is Phare so good?

So many big companies in Siem Reap are owned by just one person who is very, very rich – they take the money to their own pockets and don’t share it. In Cambodia the Khmer people are very poor, like me. I don’t have much of a chance, but I know the artists, the performers have such a big chance. I want to make everyone have a chance and help them with that – this is the reason I love my job.

How did you find Phare?

You know, my life is not easy. I have suffered from a lot… I live in The Cambodian Centre for Protection of Children’s Rights (CCPCR), an organisation that protects the children and women. So I am a woman who needs their support.

I live there in a place called Lotus House and they helped find a job for me.

Tell me more about CCPCR and Lotus House…

Lotus House has a lot of girls who they look after. They are girls who are afraid of something, maybe someone… like that. This organisation helps to make them strong, they would like all of the women to be able to stand by themselves. When we suffer from the outside world we don’t feel good… they want to increase the life and independence of us.

So how did you come to them?

In 2004 my parents divorced and I had no land, no home and so I lived with my Grandmother but she didn’t have enough money for me to study.

I went to live with a family which had wife and husband. She is my aunt but her husband was not good for me. When I go out, escaped, I rented a room to live near the university. I found a job at a hotel where I could earn $60 a month.

Maybe someone told the organisation about me and then the organisation came to me and they said they would like to help me… oh I am very happy because oh it is so good!

When I got there it was a big house, and maybe 18 girls were living there. Most of the girls were drug users or prostitutes… it is so difficult. For me, fortunately, I have a goal, that I have to study and there was nothing that could stop me studying.

I want to study so even though I have a lot of things that can stop me, many barriers… I have to cut through it and overcome it.

What made you want to study so much?

When I was young my mother sold the cakes and I had to help her sell them. I studied sometimes, and I loved it… I used to think, my family is very poor, I think if I don’t study, what about my future?

This is the reason that I have to learn, and to fight for a better life.

I have to try and support myself because my family does not have enough money for me. I study in the morning and then work in the afternoon and evening. For my subject I have so much work to do and so I don’t want to work so much. I have to work though so I can study.

I am so proud of myself

What are you studying?

I’m studying IT at university.

When I finished grade 12 I just think, by myself, what can I do, where can I go? I see all the subjects and I think wow IT, that’s a really good job. There’s a big market for IT so I can earn a lot of money from IT.

I would love to go to America or somewhere because I love IT and I want to study with the best students possible so that I would be challenged.

What is your dream job?

At first I thought I would like to make programmes. Then I started to think that websites are good, I can develop websites and things like that and I can do that from anywhere.

In my dream one day I can go to the Microsoft Company and work there.


 Read more about Phare Boutique and the impact your gift-buying will have.

Kimhong loves working at Phare because of our Social Mission – read for yourself about why she thinks it’s a positive place to work.