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February 15th 2014
Published: June 10th 2017
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Geo: 12.5657, 104.991

Two years ago four of the older children graduated from high school and moved to Phnom Penh to work and attend universities. One of them, Longy, was a favorite of mine right from day one. The first night after I arrived he came up to me and introduced himself (in perfect English), asked how long I would stay, and encouraged me to stay for three months or even a year or two. He was very charming, and obviously intelligent and gifted in social skills. The younger children listened to him; Longdy could play, but when he was serious they paid attention. He was also an excellent translator from English to Khmer as well as the other way around.

At that time Longdy was working towards getting certified as a yoga instructor. I attended several yoga classes he gave for the children and adults living here; other than his timing being a little slow back then, his classes were really very good. In the two years since I've been back, Longdy got his certification in Bangkok and teaches yoga in Phnom Penh. He also attends university; he is in his second year in architectural school. All Longdy's studies are in English, and, as Longdy is Khmer, English is his second language, so he also takes extra tutoring in English. He is poor, an orphan who grew up at Wat Opot and is now trying to make his way as an adult in Cambodia. He knows he doesn't have as much money as the other students at his university, and is very careful with what he earns as a yoga instructor and occasional interpreter.

All three of the other graduates from two years ago have sponsors to pay their way through college; I don't know why no organization or individual has stepped forward to sponsor or help Longdy, but perhaps someone reading this knows of a group, an organization, or an individual that would like to help Longdy through school. His university costs $3000/year, but he also needs $800/year for living expenses, and $200/year for the extra tutoring. By US standards those are extraordinarily low costs, but for Longdy it is the cost of his life right now. Donations could be for part of or any of those costs; any amount would be a wonderful gift.

This is a very different blog entry for me to write, but I thought it was the best way to contact lots of people. If you know anyone who would like to help a gifted Cambodian orphan through architectural college they can go to wocf.us to make a donation, or even sponsor Longdy. All the information is posted there, but I'm told that writing a check is the only option with no fees. All children are worthy of being educated; Cambodian orphans are no exception, and Longdy has already proven himself by surviving the first year and a half of college. He doesn't know I'm writing this, but I expect he'd be very happy to learn that someone from another country cares enough about Cambodian orphans to help them along their way.


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