Rithy Hong - Mobile Medical Team Leader

I remember a visitor coming and asking us what our dream was and I put my handprint on paper and wrote that I wanted to be a  doctor.

When I was a kid I was with my Mum and she was an alcoholic and a gambler. She beat me a lot and one day she threw me into the lake that our house was built over and when my Grandpa came and saw this bad thing he took me to live with him in the Army. I lived with the soldiers, just playing and eating and waiting for my Grandpa to come home.

We moved to another Army place but soon after that someone killed him. We found his body in the waterfall. Nobody knows exactly what happened, but everyone says that it was the Khmer Rouge. I went to live with my Grandpa's friend but then I started to travel alone by myself and went back to my mum but she died one week after I went back home. After my Mum died, I lived like a street child for about 2 or 3 years.

When I was still a street child, many orphanages took me to try and help me but I would run away because I didn’t know how to live like that. I was tired because I was with the bad people, doing drugs, sniffing glue and I could see that my life had no value. I start to pray to God but I don’t know who he is and I ask him that if he is real, please help me to find a place to stay and to be able to study and have a dream for my future. I told him that if he would help me please let me know. I told God that I wanted to see the zoo, the beach and Angkor Wat. A short time after that I went to Hagar and they took us to see all those places that were in my prayer. I knew then that there was a real God. 

I ended up in Hagar in 1999 and I asked them to find my brother and bring him to live with me. Just after my brother came to live at Hagar with me, my Grandpa's friend died also, so it was good that Deth was with me before that happened. World Vision wanted me to live with a family but I said no and then they suggested Hagar.

I remember a lady who was pregnant and the hospital would not help her because she didn’t have money. She and her unborn baby died and I remember thinking that I wanted to be a person who works with the medicine so that I could help poor people like her. When I was in the World Vision centre I remember a visitor coming and asking us what our dream was and I put my handprint on paper and wrote that I wanted to be a  doctor. Now I have finished studying Medicine and I have passed all my exams at University for my degree in Medicine, and sat my final exam to be a qualified doctor. My idea is to work 50% for me and 50% for others. 

While living in the Flame Leadership Academy Home I started going out into the streets to provide those that live on the streets with medical care. A donor gave us the money to get a Tuk-tuk so I can take carry the medicines and supplies.

I want to do a volunteer job helping people for a while and after that I want to spend sometime for myself to find my life documents because I really want to know about where I come from and who am I. Where did my family stay? When I find it, I will go there to get the real story of my life to make me feel like I can complete my dream. My big dream is to help the people and to know myself clearly. I’m not sure beyond that, but I will always be helping people and looking after myself.