Women of ISF: Thavry’s Story

“My name is Se Sothavry and I’m ISF’s Accounting Assistant. I grew up in Kandal Province with my parents, my brother and my two sisters. My mother is a housewife and my father used to be a farmer. Sadly, he had a moto accident and passed away when I was 16. Despite the struggles, I knew I had to be strong for my mum and younger siblings, and help financially support my family. Soon after my father died, I found a job at a garment factory and I spent eight years there. However, I was earning so little that my family’s living conditions never improved. Furthermore, I was unhappy in that job as I couldn’t see opportunities for personal or professional development.

That’s why I decided to quit my job and move to Phnom Penh. At first, I worked as a babysitter but then, I got a job in a restaurant as a dish washer. Soon after, I got promoted and worked as a waitress and bartender. My boss recognised my hard work and dedication and gave me a new promotion. I became the restaurant’s Inventory Controller. This was a very useful job for me as I improved my communications skills and my confidence in interacting with customers. I also started taking English classes and learnt to speak English quite fluently.

In 2013, I came across ISF and got involved in their football programme. I attended a training organised by the Coaches Across Continents and I was then selected to become a coach. After an enjoyable stint of coaching I decided to try childminding for ISF instead. As a childminder, I helped supervise players at ISF’s main football events and training. The morning hours suited me better and pleased my family more than the evening hours involving coaching.

A few years later, I also got a job as ISF’s part-time book keeper assistant. I was a fast learner and ISF was impressed with my skills, so in 2016 they promoted me to full-time Accounting Assistant. Since then, I attended trainings in accounting, ICT and English skills. I love working in Finance. In fact, it has always been my dream, but I never thought it could become true.

I’m so excited to be an Accountant.  I used to hear the saying ‘Dreams come true’ and now it’s happened to me. Women face so many challenges in Cambodia. People expect them to stay at home, taking care of the house and the children. They think they are not as good as men and that they lack skills. But the reality is that women simply don’t have as many opportunities as men to show their abilities. That’s why society’s perspectives and stereotypes haven’t changed yet.

I think that to overcome these issues, women need to dream big, and work hard to achieve their dreams. With dedication and hard work, we can prove that women can do everything as well or even better than men.

I am so happy and grateful to ISF for providing me with great opportunities to grow professionally and personally. I know one day your dream will come true too, ju