Ou Chailee - HR & Administration Manager

Character needs to change to see change in the future

Chailee grew up in a family of poor farmers and attended school for five years. He lived in one of the first provinces, in Northern Cambodia, to come under Khmer Rouge control in 1970, well before the Khmer rouge took control of the rest of Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge came there was no more school and his education ended at grade 5. He was told by the Khmer Rouge to work in the hospital as a nurse. During 1970 to 1979 was not a bad time for Chailee as people in the north were treated better by the Khmer Rouge. He didn’t know about the Killing Fields and the other things the Khmer Rouge had done until 1979 when he fled from the Vietnamese Army over the border to a refugee camp. It was during this flight, three months of walking that walk he saw the dead bodies and found out that what was said about the Khmer Rouge was true. He also met Rith Ngoun on the walk who is the Flame Catchup Teacher.

Living in the border refugee camp from 1979 to 1983 was the hardest time in his life. It was frightening on the border, with shelling and landmines and little food. Later, 1983, he moved to another refugee camp and because he knew about medicine was given a job with the International Red Cross. He worked with an interpreter between him and the medical team. When their work was over for the day the interpreter would teach Chailee English. After this, for three years he worked in the medical clinic in the morning and studied medicine in the afternoon. He gained a United Nations Certificate as a Physician’s Assistant which he was really proud of. That was until he found out that the certificate was not recognised by the government and he couldn’t work in medicine.

His next job was as an interpreter for the United Nations, then he worked for other organisations using his strong communication skills. After many years working for NGO’s in Cambodia he retired having raised 6 children, and having 6 grandchildren. But having worked with Sue Hanna he told her ‘I’m retired but if you have a need I can assist with let me know.’

Chailee was introduced to what Sue was doing when she founded Flame working with slum children. At first the idea of the Full Circle seemed strange but he began to see that slum living children can, with assistance, can become a leader. It is exciting to be able share his ideas and love for children in a new way. Like Sue they both lack a formal education but can help others. His role began as one day and has evolved to a full-time job. Everyday Chailee prays that God will help the change children absolutely day by day. He prays for wisdom to gave the right words to the kids and he asks God to bless them.