Katree: Aged 10 from Kro Lorng village
Katree* is 10 years old and lives in the village of Kro Lorng in Northern Cambodia. She is the second eldest in a family of 5 children. Katree loves her village, particularly ‘the nature’ by which she means the huge forest that surrounds Kro Lorng.
In Cambodia children are meant to go to school when they turn six. Unfortunately, like thousands of children in her province,there was no school for Katree to go to. This meant Katree was brought up illiterate and only able to speak her tribal language. In 2014 UWS partnered with Kings Education to build a school in Kro Lorng. Katree was nine when the school opened and her whole life changed.
Before the school was built Katree would work all day with her family in the fields. The whole family would help prepare the ground, grow rice and look after their chickens and pigs. Katree said the work was hard and no matter the weather the family would go out to work. Katree has grown up knowing that if the crop was not good then they would go hungry. Katree said that some years bad spirits would effect the crops and everyone in the village would go without. This was particularly hard on the youngest children and unfortunately some of Katree’s siblings had not survived. As the only girl in her family, Katree had the responsibility of looking after her youngest brother, Atra, who is four. Katree looks after Atra during the day while her mother does her chores. When the UWS school was opened Katree’s mother was keen for her children to go to school but said she thought Katree might be too old to learn and that she would still need to look after Atra.
Katree has been going to school for over a year. She can now speak in the national language of Khmer and her reading is improving. Katree can count to 30 and is able to do basic addition and subtraction. She takes her brother Atra to school with her and he sits on her lap during lessons. Next year, when Atra turns five, he will start school himself and Katree thinks he will be top of the class.
Katree is still not sure what she wants to do when she grows up, she only knows that she doesn’t want to be a farmer. With the help of Kings and UWS Kro Lorng she now has that option.
*Katree’s name has been changed to protect her but this is the story of a pupil at Kro Lorng.