Tep Sothy is Head of Learning Center in Tani, Cambodia, our youngest learning center. Tani Learning Center opened its door in mid-March to welcome students and children in the community of Tani. In this post, we would like to introduce him.
Sothy has been working the Cambodian and European candidates of our 7th Capability Program over the last couple of months to set up the center. When asked what motivates him to open a learning center, Sothy says he aspires to educate young generations in his community and provide them quality education and knowledge to lay the foundation for their further studies and higher education. In addition, he also wishes to provide a place for the people in the community to access books and English courses to improve their job and community needs as well as to further educate their community fellows.
Sothy believes that in the next 5 years from now on, his learning center will thrive and gain support from the community. He envisions infrastructure extensions, f.e. a garden, benches, broad internet access for students and visitors as well as a little café. He would like to offer a bus to transport young students from their homes to the learning center. He also hopes that students cannot only study at the center, but also can work there after completing their studies.
Sothy has been a key figure in Tani community for 10 years. He has close connections to the community, local authorities, and state schools. He is widely recognized as English teacher. He has run his own English schools in 8 different rural communities in Kampot province since 2002.
Like many other Cambodians at his age, Sothy’s studies were adversely hindered and marred by the civil war. As a war refugee he was rescued by UNHRC and UNBRO. In one of the refugee camps in Thailand, he studied English and Thai for 4 years in the 1980s before he started to work for UNTAC in Kep city in 1993. From 1995 to 1997, he worked as translator and hotel manager in Phnom Penh. Besides, he taught Khmer language to volunteers from American Peace Corps and VSO in Tani for many years. Sothy now has a chicken and mushroom farm in Tani.
Sothy has two daughters and one son, two of whom still go to school. His oldest daughter has graduated from high school and is currently working in Phnom Penh; she wishes to go to university some day soon. For Sothy, education has always been an important value be it as refugee in Thailand, as English teacher for young Cambodian or as a father of three kids. We are glad to have him as Community Hero in Tani!