Vuthy’s story: How ISF’s social workers make a difference

Pun Vuthy is 16 years old and currently supported by ISF to attend state school. Growing up in Takeo Province in southwest Cambodia, Vuthy didn’t have much of an opportunity to go to school as both his parents were ill and the responsibility to put food on the table fell to him and his seven siblings.

Although enrolled in school in Takeo Province, Vuthy struggled to attend regularly. Usually, instead of going to school, he would go fishing with his father or would help take care of cattle while his sisters sold vegetables at the local market. “It was challenging to put food on the table for my family, let alone working at hard at school” he recalls.

At eight years of age, he moved with his two older sisters to Phnom Penh in search of better opportunities. His sisters found jobs as garment factory workers and Vuthy found an opportunity to attend school at ISF. Vuthy enrolled at grade 1 level and after two years at ISF, he entered state school at grade 5.

Vuthy’s favourite things about ISF include learning English and Khmer literature and participating in the football programme. His talent on the pitch has led him to playing in defense for a Cambodian League football club. Currently, the club provides him with shared accommodation, three meals a day and a weekly stipend. However, earlier this year, things weren’t as secure for Vuthy as they are now. When his coach left the club, he lost his accommodation and decided to move back home to Takeo Province.

While he was at home, he received frequent follow-up calls from ISF’s social workers and employment programme team to check on his well-being and to encourage him to return to sch