Ms. Sun Sreytouch’s Life Story

Keep on Trying – don’t let things push you down

Ms. Sun Sreytouch's life story

Published: 2 April 2024

Ms. Sreytouch standing

My name is Sun Sreytouch. I was born in Kampong Speu province, I got disability on my right leg caused by polio disease when I was one and a half years old. I have 6 siblings (3 female) and am the fifth child in the family.

As a girl with disability, Srey Touch experienced discrimination from neighbors and classmates as they always used inappropriate words to her which were hurtful. Every time she walked out of the house, everyone looked at her like a stranger and said, “how pity is she as she is a girl with disability”. When she was young, because of this she didn’t want anyone see her legs, she always wore long skirts.

Fortunately, she has a family, especially her mother and sister to support and encourage her at all times both to go to school, but also to enjoy a social life. But when she was a secondary school student, things were tough and she faced many difficulties because she had to walk to school and some teachers did not understand her and punished her when she arrived late for school. 

She used to think of dropping out of school when she was in high school due to her family’s financial condition. But due to her mother’s encouragement and repeated support and sacrifice, she continued to study until she graduated from high school in 2001. She didn’t continue studying as she would have liked because she had to help her parents earn money to support the family. In 2005 she came to Phnom Penh to look for work experience. She looked for work as a volunteer or intern or to find a short course or scholarship opportunity. In 2008, determined to never give up, she got a scholarship for a bachelor’s degree in finance and banking at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. Many of the classrooms were on the 3rd or 4th floor, and with no accessibility, it was tough for her to switch between classrooms. This became a constant battle until she graduated in 2014. Her personal experience has left her committed to improving accessibility for other people with disabilities. “People should never be prevented from opportunities or fulfilling their dreams due to lack of access” she says.

Before studying at university, she used to work as a full-time staff at House of Family for 6 months; where she supported children living with HIV. She also worked at Hagar organization for 1 year as an assistant accountant. Continuing to gain useful skills in the sector she loves, she went on to work as a rteceptionist in the Massage Centre by Blind people for 1 year. She finally got a full-time job working in the disability sector when she was in her third year of university. She joined the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization (CDPO) for 4 years as a programme officer. After gaining useful experience and confidence, she successfully applied to work for the International Committee of the Red Cross for 3 years as a disability inclusion field officer. Here she learned many things both at national and international level.

Currently, she is working with People’s Action for Inclusive Development (PAfID), based in Phnom Penh. Here, she got the opportunity to work on and lead in many different projects to benefit people and especially women with disabilities in the community.

Sreytouch standing in front of a conference's banner

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Throughout our work, we have learnt that actors in the field of development need to go through organizational and systematic processes of change within their programs to move towards sustainable (disability) inclusion. We support these processes at community, organizational and governmental level.

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