I met Sim on the outer farms of Siem Reap, Cambodia after travelling in a Tuk Tuk across the dusty roads of farm land.
Cows and motorbikes passed by, either making loud ‘vrooms’ or a constant deafening ‘moo’ as locals hustled the cattle down to the water.
Children greeted us by the gate and ran up to the cart as we handed down clothing and school supplies. While we sat by the table, kids smiling and laughing around us, Sim told us a story. Now I will tell you hers.
Sim Khai Malone runs a school on the outskirts of Siem Reap. In her backyard she teaches local children to speak English for free. Sim says, ‘I want to help my children for English language for their future, I want their life happiness.’
Sim’s school was started in 2015 and has continued to help Cambodian children in daily life. More than 20 children currently attend lessons and have amazed both Sim and myself with their fast learning, particularly from the perspective of someone whose first language is English. Sim started the school in hope to give kids of today a great chance in the future. She tells us that ‘all the children very clever, but their families most unable to send them to school.’
Giving kids this great opportunity, she is an inspiration to us all. When I visited the school, only recently, I was thrilled to see smiling faces, running and jumping around. I found so much enjoyment speaking to Sim and the children, and so I think they are very lucky to have someone like her. Without the school, they would have a very little opportunity to learn English.
Sim shows mercy in her everyday life because she is helping others to be the best they can be. She makes people happy and so will be remembered in their lives as an important figure. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of meeting Sim and her students. Learning from Sim’s actions I hope we could all be a little better every day. To ourselves and to others everywhere.
YJA 2016 Junior Winner: Lucy O’Brien, St Joseph’s Primary School, The Junction, NSW