Bonnie grew up in the slums of Phnom Pehn city. Her home was basic, with palm leaves for a roof and corrugated iron walls, there was no electricity and had been built on stilts as a result of being built so close to the river.
During the rainy season, the river would flood the family home with raw sewage and plastic waste. Bonnie would have to swim through the water to get in and out of their home which often resulted in Bonnie and her family falling sick. They would all sleep on shelves to try and avoid getting wet during the night.
Being a part of a poor family meant that Bonnie had more responsibility in contrast to the average child. She would have to contribute to the family income in some way each day. This meant she would wake up at 4a.m. to bake 200 cakes to sell throughout the morning in the markets.
After this, Bonnie would go with her father into the city to collect plastic bottles and cans from the streets. She would fill many bags to earn a very little wage. Often Bonnie would be out until 11p.m. collecting rubbish and as a young girl being out at this time, she was very vulnerable.
Bonnie dreamt of becoming a doctor, a dream that seemed far out of reach as a girl from the slums. One day Bonnie got some amazing news, she was going to be sponsored by EDUKID to go to school!
Bonnie has just graduated with her degree in medicine. She continues to live in the slum, where people there have extremely limited access to healthcare, and now opens up her home to the community as a medical centre.
This demonstrates the ripple effect that education can have within a community. By giving Bonnie the opportunity to study and go on to be a doctor, she has been able to impact thousands of people, who otherwise would not be able to afford treatment. Every day Bonnie is curing illnesses and saving lives. Without education, this position she is in and the opportunities she is able to offer others within her community truly would not have been possible.
Bonnie’s story is explored in the resources ‘no poverty’ and ‘gender equality’.