This is Sokhun, a Buddhist monk with whom Jessica and I spent an afternoon on our recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sokhun is the first person in his family to receive a formal education but to do so, he had to leave his home at an early age and move to a Buddhist school forty-five kilometers away in Siem Reap. Each week, after completing his studies that will lead his to a university degree in International Relations, Sokhun gets on the back of a motorbike or climbs onto a bus and returns to his little village to work at the school he founded so that the children there can go to school without having to leave home as he had to do. The 400 students learn, among other basic studies, how to speak English. Sokhun hopes that soon the school can accommodate 1,000 children.
Jessica asked Sokhun what he would do if he could make his dreams come true. In the selfless, compassionate way that would have made the Buddha proud, he said that he would love to get a master’s degree in International Relations from a good program in the United States so that he could learn how best to work with government, NGOs and educators in order to bring educational opportunity to the places in Cambodia where it does not now exist. We would love to see him succeed.
A full year’s tuition at a Cambodian university is US$600. I haven’t researched the subject, but I’m guessing that a masters’ degree program at, say, Tufts or Georgetown costs a bit more than that. I’m also guessing that most Buddhist monks have not benefited much from the recent stock market surge because, well, they’re Buddhist monks. And we reminded him to budget for a winter monk uniform since, having never been outside of Cambodia, he has never had a need for a monk hat to get through the winters of Boston or Washington, DC. So, if Sokhun is going to see his dream come true, he’s going to need a scholarship. That’s where you come in.
Here’s the ask: If you’re an alum of a university with a good International Relations program and you can find out if there may be some scholarship money available for foreign students, especially foreign students of the Buddhist monk variety, please let us know and we’ll pass the information along to Sokhun. This guy is special and he is already doing special things but, with the right tools, he could do so much more. Let’s see if we can help him and the children of Cambodia, shall we?
If you want to learn more about Sokhun’s school in Phum O, Cambodia, go to www.childrendestiny.com and thanks in advance for your help.This entry was posted in Uncategorized