Everything Starts From an Action. Each and every one of us wants to do something good for ourselves, for others around us. Some of us have the opportunity to do great things that may potentially have a great impact on others, while some may not have such an opportunity even if we are thriving to do so. I am here to propose an initiation to start a project in which I have always dream of doing, and the fate of this project will depend on all of us to help one another.
My name is Chung, known by Chuill. I am originally from Cambodia. My field of interest is in Public Health, specifically in the Population and Family Health and the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease. I graduated from Augsburg University in the spring of 2018 with a BS degree in Biology and Psychology with a Cum Laude Latin honor. I started my Masters in Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in the fall of 2018. Having said that, I want to make a difference after my graduate study with help from all of you. Not only this will be the greatest gift for my own graduation, but it will be a joyful gift for some young people in the rural areas of my hometown, Cambodia.
My introduction at the beginning of the article may get your attention with a status as an international student. But there are hidden stories behind everyone. I, too, have one to tell. Most international students studying abroad are from wealthy families to be able to pay for the cost of education in American universities and colleges. For this reason, many may make an assumption that all international students do not need any financial assistant solely because they are able to come to the U.S to study. I am, unlike most, from a somewhat different situation. I came to the U.S through the generosity of friends and the people I knew in the U.S., including Pastors Nick and Cindy Fisher-Broin (whom I proudly call my parents) and all members of Spring Garden Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Therefore, about 99% of my financial sources are from scholarships, friends, and my host family themselves. If it was not for their help, my dream for higher education would not be possible as I grew up without parents and support system.
A brief story of how I came to school in the U.S can be found at:
I am the youngest among 6, grew up in a province called Kandal and raised by a widowed mother. I went to Hun Sen Sopie elementary school before we moved to the capital city, Phnom Penh, at the age of 12. Due to our family's financial situation like many of the villagers', my siblings and I traveled on foot to school every day. It took us about an hour or longer.
Among the many essential educational tools and supplies, my school and may others in isolated rural Cambodia lack a proper well and bathroom/toilet. Because many of the children spent an hour or more walking to school, many villagers feared the danger of assault on their young daughters on the way to school or while at school because of the lack of a bathroom/toilet as the girls get older. Some parents, including my mother, even encouraged (most often time force) their daughters to drop out of school once they reach puberty.
There are many ways to make a difference in someone’s life, and this is one way I have chosen to do so. Having said that, I want to take initiative to build wells and bathroom(s)/toilet(s) in some of the rural schools during my trip back home to Cambodia in the coming year(s). This project will potentially benefit many young girls by providing them security while they are at school so that they feel safe enough to stay in school and further their education.
It is amazing how something so simple as clean water and toilet facilities can improve the education experience! Perhaps we take these things for granted in the U.S. sometimes.
I am asking for your help in funding this project. I am seeking individual donations and grants from any organization that will help me succeed in this project to provide clean water and toilet facilities for these schoolchildren, especially girls. I will be involved in supervising the project during my time there (TBD base on when the 10K goal met).
Whatever you can do to help will make a big difference! There is a saying: give a person a fish, and you feed that person for a day. Teach that person to fish, and you feed that person for a lifetime. And if we can help keep children in school, more and more, they will feed themselves both food and the possibility for a better life! Thank you for helping me reach this goal!
Note: This project by any mean is my own personal volunteer project with no partnership with other NGOs or groups. Though, donators and contributors may be from various different groups.
If you have further question or curiosity, please feel free to contact me via my personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org or my personal cell phone at (507) 951 5761
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Chung Eang Lip
New York, NY