06 Jun My Experience with Wedu
by Ly Chhay Loem
Rising Star, Cambodia
I met Wedu the first time in March 2012 in a workshop in my community through Khmer Youth Association in Cambodia, the organization that I joined since I was 16. At the workshop I met founders of Wedu, Mari Sawai and Mario Ferro; the former of Khmer Youth Association President, Mr. Mak Chamroeun; the Khmer Youth Association Kampong Cham Province Head Officer, Ms. Y Srey Moch; and all the participants. Until now it has been two years and four months.
The most beneficial aspect that Wedu has given to me is the opportunity that allows me to get a higher education and a Mentor, as I am now a student at the Asian University for Women (AUW) and a Rising Star at Wedu. Through this opportunity, I get to learn what a good liberal arts education means at AUW and what it means to think as an ethical leader through the leadership mentoring sessions at Wedu. Beside that, I also get to adapt with cultures from other sixteen countries and learn from professors from around the world. Without this opportunity, I might still be in my village in my home country, where inadequate finance is a major problem for my family.
The most important part of Wedu is the Leadership skills that Wedu has taught every Rising Star through the Mentorship Program. The first person who came up in my mind, when I go through stress and struggle and even when I get excited with a happy moment, is my mentor. I realized the leadership potential I have grown inside me through Mentorship Program. I got involved with the Mentorship Program and received the opportunity to create a global network. Wedu is a community where global mentees and mentors are connected.
My Personal Experience with My Mentor
After I met Wedu in March 2012, I kept in touch with my mentor, through E-mail/yahoo and asked advice from him on how to do with my application process, (even I did not know that he was going to be my Mentor). After quite a long period, I got accepted AUW with a full scholarship that the university awarded me. A million thanks to my university for this, and a million thanks to my mentor who guided me. I was so ecstatic. My cherished dream came true. I forgot everything; I was shouting and jumping while my parents advised that girls should not speak or say something loud. But at that time my parents did not mind my shouting or jumping which is considered to be inappropriate. In fact, they feel so proud of me and proud of themselves having me as their daughter, and my father was crying with joy.
After several months of my arrival in AUW, Marica Rizzo, the former of Wedu Mentorship Manager, introduced me to my Mentor, Mario Ferro—co-Founder and CEO of Wedu. And I feel so honored and blessed to have such mentor who is always there for me. He is adorable. He is wonderful more than a word I could ever say. He is the person who believes in me until I also start believing in myself. He cares for my life and my success. He checks to make sure I am doing well at school and he checks if I am strong enough to move forward my life. I feel the courage and am empowered by him. When I share my future dreams and goals with him, he told me that “The world is your oyster.” When I was worried if I was going to fail my exams at school last semester, he told me that “Ly Chhay is super.” When my tear dropped three times a day because of difficulties that I face as an international student studying abroad, he told me that “You are strong.” When I was so scared with my exams and need help with English, he connects with two of his great friends Antonio Serrano and Ian Stuart, who are English professors from America, and he recommended that “Ly Chhay is a brilliant girl in whom I deeply trust.” I feel that I could never ever find any mentors like him in the world.
That is the reason why I am so passionate in encouraging other girls to start thinking about their goals and to convey the message: having a mentor is important. And I trust that my mentor wants my success in achieving my goals. Being involving in the Mentorship Program at Wedu, I have become optimistic and got the feeling of being a member of Wedu family.
I am gradually gaining the leadership potential of a global a young woman leader and preparing myself to help my community in Cambodia where all of my friends in my village did not get the opportunity to be educated and mentored as I do. They all dropped out from schools. Some of them are getting married with children, and some of them are getting jobs in the factories which are of low income. I am the only one to come out from the village and I intend to do something for them in the future. I want to see the world as a global community. I found that I have learnt something special and that pushed me to have a passion that I want to make a big positive difference in myself and a huge impact on other people’s life, especially. Last but not least, I want to become a wonderful leader in my country in the future, and I am learning how to do it now from my mentor, from my university, and from all the people who I believe.