Life after high school is a scary time for many young people around the world, and our kids are no different. After extensive work experience and career counselling our young adults move off into the world of tertiary and vocational education that allows them to reach for their dreams and achieve their goals.
Our first university graduate, Boram completed his Bachelor of Business and Administration in 2017 TOP OF HIS CLASS. A high achiever in every aspect of his University Life. Upon graduating with such great results, Boram received many corporate job opportunities, instead of taking the highest salary Boram decided to 'give back' and work with us - his Green Gecko family - for one year to gain experience in a busy office and learn the ropes of managing an NGO (made all that little bit harder when it is your brother and sisters you are working with). Now Boram is off working for the very prestigious and first of its kind 'wandering hotel', 700'000 Heures Cambodia, experiencing the trials and tribulations of setting up a hotel from scratch and then working at such high end standards on a day to day basis.
Completing Year 12 in 2017 at the age of 25, Kunthea was the first in her family to finish high school. Her original dream was to be a midwife but it was unexpectedly put on hold while she had to study an extra year to pass the National Medical Exam. But like many happenings at Green Gecko and as Tania always says "bigger the problem, bigger the gift", during this time Kunthea gained part time work with the Women's Resource Centre and discovered an even bigger passion for counselling and gender issues. She is now in her first year of a Diploma in Mental Health Counselling in Phnom Penh and is continuing to work for the Women's Resource Centre, Siem Reap.
Another first in the family, Preab completed Year 12 in 2017 and had a gap year to work and gain experience in a field that she thought she might be interested in. After working in hotels for over a year, 26 year old Preab has just begun Bachelor of Business, specialising in Tourism as she has discovered a passion and a strong skill set in the area. Her employers are super excited (as are we) because they cannot stop raving about her natural flair for tourism.
Working in one of the top hotels in Siem Reap - Jaya House River, Srey Mao began her hospitality career in Room Service. Only two years later, Srey Mao was promoted to Guest Services and Front of House. Always being self conscious of her abilities, especially in English, Srey Mao has proven to herself and our younger Geckos that hard work, focus and a willingness to learn is just as good an education as school and university. We love visiting her and seeing her looking so professional and confident... she has even had more than a few positive mentions on Trip Advisor reviews!
Starting her tertiary education in Design, Srey Neang soon discovered that her passion for art was more in the realms of care and compassion. We soon discovered an Art Therapy NGO in Thailand, where Srey Neang was able to volunteer and learn more about how art, counselling and how they can be used side by side to improve the lives of people. On her return to Cambodia, Srey Neang was accepted into the only registered university course in Social Work and was accepted based on her past experiences and her future goals. In her first year Srey Neang was awarded SOCIAL WORK STUDENT OF THE YEAR, now halfway through her degree, Srey Neang is continuing with short courses in Art Therapy and is looking forward to gaining her qualifications and giving back to Cambodia.
Srey was the first in her family to complete Year 12. After seeing a workshop where a physiotherapist was helping young Khmer patients, Srey (second from the left) knew that this was the job for her. Her hopes to see Khmers being able to access therapy to aid in their recovery and mobility, saw Srey apply for one of the very few courses in Phnom Penh. Srey was accepted straight away and is now close to her end goal of being a qualified physiotherapist and working within the Siem Reap community. Amazingly, she already has organisations wanting to meet her and offer her full-time employment.
After leaving high school in Year 10 and pursuing a career in F&B Management, Sokun realised that her passions laid elsewhere and so she returned to Year 11 at the age of 22 and became the first in her family to complete secondary school. Successfully passing the Year 12 National Certificate, Sokun then studied even harder for the compulsory National Medical Exam required to become a dentist. Sokun is now studying Dentistry at one of the best universities in Phnom Penh on a full 7 Year Scholarship, a scholarship that was awarded for her community involvement, aspirations for Cambodia and her desire to make a difference.
Wanting to work in the hospitality field, Teara left high school and was accepted into one of the local courses at a highly respected Siem Reap hotel - The Shinta Mani Foundation. Originally applying to study a Chef Apprenticeship, her English levels were so high that the career counsellors advised her to move into F&B Management instead. Our once very shy young lady has now graduated and was immediately employed by a very popular restaurant in the centre of town. Her confidence and abilities have grown and it is wonderful to see her as an integral part of her team.
Dreaming of one day opening his own restaurant with one of his fellow Gecko brothers, Naruan is halfway through his training to become an amazing chef. Attending one of Siem Reap's most respected training schools and social enterprises - Haven - Naruan is living in their student housing and is gaining both classroom and real life kitchen experience. Luckily it is one of our favourite restaurants so we regularly get to see his gorgeous face and taste test his delicious meals.
Showing an early interest and passion in photography and film work, Heng completed Year 9 in 2014 and was accepted by a well known photographer to complete an apprenticeship with him. Heng was selected to attend Film Making workshops and his work was one of 16 screened at the Cambodian Film Festival. Studying over two years in Siem Reap, Heng moved to Phnom Penh to work for a Cambodian Videography company. Recently returning to Siem Reap, as a father of one little boy, Heng is continuing to work in the field that he loves.