Courage Without Borders
Curriculum Training at Pagoda in Kampong Som
Conducted by CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education
"I always closed the COURAGE training with a story about my maternal grandmother YI Hao emphasizing her two most salient traits in nurturing me--SACRIFICE and LOVE.
"A woman, who to her dying days at the age of 84 in the US, couldn't even sign her name but with an "X" . Nonetheless, she had all her 8 sons and daughters (including a younger brother whom she raised as a son) educated with at least a college degree in Cambodia, the US and France (if a luxury now, how much more so then for an impoverished, illiterate descendant of Chinese refugees!), and who adopted her orphaned grandchildren as her children and uncompromisingly took them away from the desolate Svay Rieng farm to Phnom Penh, across landmines to the Thai refugee camps and on to the United States in order they may have an education.
"Now most of her grandchildren have advanced degrees, with great-grandchildren living the fruits of a great-grandmother they hardly had time to know. Not bad for a woman born into stricken poverty, abused by her husband, marginalized by a deeply class conscious society where only pedigrees matter, endured a genocide. My grandmother was certainly illiterate, hardly a learned person by any stretch of the imagination, but she was full of wisdom and vision.
"Society needs you. Our young people need you. Wherever I turn in my extensive travels, I see our young people lost, in need of direction. They need you. You as teachers, to be sure. But more than that, they need you first and foremost as their mother, as their father.
"Our generation should have been the generation of sacrifice. We have failed our young miserably. But it is not too late. The young people--your students, your sons, your daughters, they need your SACRIFICE and LOVE. More than ever, these are what our young people need most especially!"
- CIVICUS Cambodia president Theary C. Seng
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