Ms. Poeng Haseka’s story

Hi Friend!

My name is Poeng Haseka. I am 27 years old. My father’s name is Tan Makara, and he’s 62 years old. He works as principle of Mittapheap Primary School in Kampong Cham province. My mother’s name is Tav Sidan; she’s 50 years old, and she works at Arunreas organization in Kampong Cham province.

I have 3 brothers and sisters, and I’m the oldest. My permanent address is Phum Muy, Sangkat Vealvong, Srok Kampong Cham, Kampong Cham province, Cambodia. My family is Christian.

I was born with disability, and my both legs can’t stand up or move properly as well as my both hands can move a little bit but my right hand can use only about 50% to 60%. I’m using a wheelchair to assist my daily activities. In addition, beside of my disability I have a slight goiter disease that is in treatment and follow-up every month from the Mercy Medical Center (CSI) in Sangkat Prekpra, Phnom Penh.

Since I am severely disabled, I need more special care from my mother. Every morning when I get up, my mother helps me to fold mosquito net, blankets, pillows and mattress then assist me to wash my face and change clothes. After that, she prepares breakfast and puts some important materials such as draft of water, urinal pot and others materials before she leaves home for work. When my mother and other family members are out for work, I stay alone at home with suffering.

I didn’t have any chance to go to public school as other children, but I can read and write Khmer because my mother taught me at home.

Furthermore, my mother supports all my daily expenses and I also raise some support by producing postal card and knickknacks by hand to sell to foreigners. The other way is I’m asking foreign friends to bring all handmade products to sale in their country to make a little income, sometime I receive support from relatives, too.

From day to day, I feel too shy and become lonely because of my disability, and sometimes come to think that I can’t do anything for my life. I couldn’t see a bright future, and I became very depressed. The most worrying is how I can live without my mother because she always helps me. What will happen when Mom goes away from me?

Fortunately, on 02 August 2012 Dr. Kendrick, who helps at Mercy Medical Center, introduced me to Phnom Penh Center for Independent Living (PPCIL), and PPCIL team had come all the way to visit me at home in Kampong Cham province. They inspired me to start joining with many activities of PPCIL, then made me understand about disability concept and independent living movement. Especially, I am very interested in personal assistant service for assisting persons with disabilities and the vital concept of independent living of person with severe disability in the community.

After I know PPCIL, I became stronger, confident, self-esteem and dare to face with many challenges.  Importantly, I found and identified my goals in life. The wonderful thing is I turned to accept and be satisfied with my disability.  I understand that disability isn’t my barriers and my responsibility but the barriers come from the society. That’s why I want to change the society! Now I want to have equal life as able bodied people by choosing where they want to live in the community and use personal assistant service provided by PPCIL in order to get more life experiences and wanted to understand more about the society.

Particularly, I want to be a role model for other person with disability and to encourage to other to be more self-confident and to pursue independence living.

In order to reach my dream, I want to study English, computer and work at PPCIL for involving with all social activities in order to create one society for all.

I’d like to appeal and kindly invite all of generous supporters to provide financial or materials as much as you can so that I can come out to live in the community just like citizens without disabilities. Without your support, my life is standing still and I also can’t be a role model of independent living in order to change the society for all. So your support is crucial.

I would like to wish you all be successful and prospective of life.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you and God bless you!

Poeng Haseka


Hello everyone! My name is Sokea Lay.

I have a single mother and three brothers and three sisters who live in a rural area of Takeo Province in Cambodia. My father passed away five  years ago from cancer. My oldest brother is a primary school teacher; one younger sister is a student; and the rest work daily in the rice fields. I graduated from high school in 2008, and in 2010, I was granted a two-year scholarship from Honda Corporation to attend the Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities in Pattaya, Thailand, where there are many volunteers from different English speaking countries teaching students with disabilities. While I was studying there, I met a benevolent American volunteer who provided the funding for me to study in the United States after I graduated from that school in December 2012. I just graduated from Eastern Florida State College in December 2014. At present, I am working for Phnom Penh Center for Independent Living (PPCIL), an organization for people with disabilities. My job is to assist the Executive Director with the Empowerment and Employment for Disability Project. The main purpose of this plan is to create jobs for people with disabilities and to show people nationally that we, people with disabilities, can work and build a business model for other enterprises and companies to hire people with disabilities. Also, I go to various communities around the city to meet with persons with disabilities in order to see their real life situations and to see what we can do to assist them. Another thing is, I encourage them to go outside and be involved in society together to show other people our great talents, what we can do and what we have; specifically, that we want to be treated equally, that we can make meaningful contributions to society.

In addition, when I am free from work, I teach some of PPCIL staff who need to improve their English skills. In fact, I teach one lady with polio for 30 minutes every morning from Monday to Friday and teach English to  another lady with Cerebral Palsy on weekends or whenever I am free from work. The main reason is because education is always considered as an important tool to shape and brighten everyone’s life, and especially, it is significant for everyone to make changes in the society we live in today. I want them to have more education and skills so that they can apply it to their daily work and lives. Here are some pictures of other friends here at PPCIL.