I am a genocide survivor of the Khmer Rouge.
I was born in 1978 and escaped to Thailand with my parents and 4 siblings. My childhood was spent roaming around in the Chanthaburi refugee camp.
I arrived in America at the age of 9 in 1987. It was difficult assimilating into American culture, but nothing compared to what I just left. This experience has taught me to have perseverance. My parents chose to come to America to give my siblings and me a better life. They were always focused on education, because they knew that it is the pathway to a better life. Having an education would give so many more opportunities.
I, along with my 5 siblings are college graduates and successful. I graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in Computer Science. I am currently working in Silicon Valley as a manager at VMWare. I would not be where I am without an education and perseverance.
It was bittersweet for me to visit the CCDO school.
Bitter because I recognized what my life could have been if my parents had not made the risky decision to leave and pursue a life where education is free and available. Worst yet, what my children's life could be if I had not been able to go to school and pursue a higher education.
Sweet because I am in a position where I can help the children of my own country. I am grateful to be able to support the education in my birth country so they may have a better life.
“The more that you read,
the more things you will know,
the more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.”