From Poverty to the Pitch: ISF Coach Poeng Khy is an Inspiration
When we agree to accept a child into the ISF Education Programme, we support them all the way through to higher education or a meaningful job. Even if life doesn’t go to plan. Our football coach Kvy is a good example of what that might mean. Almost all children studying with us are from families facing huge challenges alongside devastating poverty. We regularly work with parents to persuade them to keep their children in education. On rare occasions, however, the pressure is too great and a student does drop out. After six years with us, Kvy became one of those children after his parents became unable to work.
For the first few months after he left ISF in 2016 at the age of 14, Kvy felt lost as he tried to earn enough money to support his entire family of six. First he moved to the countryside to work at a brick factory. But he found it difficult and poorly paid, so he returned to Phnom Penh to work a grueling factory job. Towards the end of 2017 he left this job, still struggling to earn enough to feed his siblings.
Throughout these difficult times, our Employment Programme encouraged him to return to school but he still felt he needed to earn. At this point, we remembered he had always been a keen footballer. So our Employment team met with Samedy, Football Programme Manager, and asked if there was a chance he could join the programme. Samedy decided to take him in as a referee trainee and coach.
Kvy has played football since he was young but hadn’t thought about pursuing a career in it or realized he might enjoy coaching. As a part-time referee and coach, Kvy had the same access to skills and capacity development training as full-time staff.
He was soon able to make the leap from trainee to part time professional. Now, at the age of 18, he is committed to building his own capacity and skills to become a qualified coach. Kvy now provides weekly training to ISF’s under 10 girls team and the under 14 and under 18 boys teams at Puon Phnom School in Phnom Penh.
Once he is a full-time coach, Kvy is determined to work even harder to help young players enhance their skills and find their place in football. Kvy has also concentrated on developing his public speaking skills. As a child born into a life in poverty, he hopes to inspire others by sharing how he has overcome adversity.
Kvy believes that the young people he coaches and in his own community could benefit from football like he did. He sees the sport as a pathway to avoiding problems such as illegal drugs, gambling and domestic violence. He would like to see a sense of community give them the confidence to seek a brighter future like the one has achieved.