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A Childhood Dream of Woman Dissolved When Her House Burnt

Mon 21 Nov 2016 | | Aide et Action International (AEAI)

A few years ago, Chhen Da, 20 years-old, and Sem Sopheap, 18-year-old studied at grade 7 always got up early by dressing in a blue skirt and white shirt uniform and went to a school in Sihanouk ville.


When they left home, they seemed liberate from mental threat because their communities were conflicting with a powerful businessman in land dispute. Their school provides a safe shelter and opportunity to study and meet their friends.


However, their dream to learn to be teachers was dissolved in a short time.


Both girls said that the businessman brought security guards to burn their homes and others, claiming that they had illegally settled on the land, although they have lived here for more than 10 years ago.


“I'm at school and then Military Police and police came to burn my house” Sopheaps said, while other victims had gathered to tell about their story. She said; “They pump gas and arson.”


Chen Da added; “Our property was destroyed. We wept in fear.”


After the incident occurred shortly Chen Da and Sopheap decided to drop out of school.


Sopheap said some of friends quit school. She said they lost not only education, but also lost friends.


Now Chen Da and Sopheap say most of their friends are from rich families if we think of that time till now they nearly end of high school.


Sopheap complained; “Now I regret because I get less education.”


Mrs. Brang Nam, a 54 years-old victim, who suffered and was evicted from their community, says the older generation lost the opportunity to learn because of poverty and war.


She said; “But we want our children to get more education.”


But she says many children in her community also lost a chance to study because of land conflicts, while their family’s situation is more deterioration.


Mrs. Nam said with lament; “We used to have farming land, but this time they get out.”


Mrs. Soer Preurng, 53 years-old as a neighbor chorus: “We rely entirely on fishing at sea but also there are not fish to catch.”


She said their children will be affected greatly in the future.


Mr. Soth Nin, 55 years old, said: “My generation is more difficult but now what my children more difficult than us.”

“What you said is great,” Mrs. Brang Nam chorused.


Sopheap said; “We hope that our children will be able to compete their study.”