New Life Fellowship Cambodia


From a junk scavenger to an influential English teacher

Siev Khea, 27, is a great English teacher at New Life Foundation. He is now a graduate with an English literature degree.  For over years, he striggle to survive in the unknown before he is who he is right now. Siev Khea has a story to hare with us. 

Ended up in the unknown

At the age of 13, Khea decided to leave his dull, and lifeless village , and migrated to the capital city, an known place where he knew nobody. The first job he ever found with his young age skill was to scavenge for used items inside trash bins along streets in town. Each day of his whole day of sweat, he could make 2000 riel ( 0.50 cent) which was enough back then to make ends meet. 

Life was so difficult to imagine. He had no friends, not enough food to eat, no place to sleep at night, and no place to shower. He told us that every time he showered, he had to risk swimming in the Mekong river where drowning-cases were so common. It was free of charge, but the level of danger was so high for him, let alone the safety and the quality of the water he drank. Sometimes he had to live with an hungry stomach , and went to bed with the dream of getting decent food to satisfy. One day, he recalled, a group of fellows came and forced him to take glue-sniffing ( drug-addiction). Fortunately, he learned enough about the danger of the drug , and the glue, and he was able to say “No” to them. 

As life became more difficult to live and hard to move forward, Khea started to find a different path to walk. One day, when he was scavenging for things to take around Wat Phnom , a landmark of the city, he saw a group of construction guys moving their materials including bricks, and cement. Khea approached them with his humble heart, and asked if they could offer anything he could do in exchange for food to eat. Kindly , the men accepted his begging, and offered a job for him. It was a sweat job inside an old facility located about 20 minutes east of the city. Though the job was different with better benefits for life, Khea still described the works and the conditions as still nightmare for him. He earned about 50000 riel ( 10 USD) per month but the work conditions were almost a torturing facility. 

He had to bear living there , but his patience was over when something terrible happened. When one of the workers accidentally caught one of his arms into a machine. Half of his arm had to be cut off. Since then, Khea decided to leave the brick facility after almost working there for 8 months. 

Bell-Boy at a bus-station 

Khea was referred to another job as a bell-boy. This job was not at a hotel, but at a bus station; carry bags for tourists at the bus station. He offered great services to many. The workplace allowed him and other young men to stay there together with the provision of meals. Khea earned about 90000 riels ( 20 USD) per month. He enjoyed the job until one day, he faced something unexpected. While working at the bus station , he saw a small note book. He did not know what a notebook was. With the desire of learning how to read , write and draw, Khea started to pull out a pen and sketched some interesting pictures with some lines crossing all over like a kindergarten child. Later there was an announcement looking for something missing. Khea was an honest boy, at least he tried to be honest because he found the notebook, and he was happily willing to return the book. As soon as they saw what on the notebook, Khea was immediately fired. It was not a normal notebook, but a tourist’s passport and Khea did not know that the purpose of a passport was to allow someone to cross a country , and once you lose it you can get in big trouble. With no grace, poor Khea had to go find a different job to survive. 

Right thought lead to right course 

Khea later found other jobs at night in a restaurant , and beer-gardens, and a construction working site which was another sweat job for him. Day by day, Khea looked at people with motors, and cars, and happy smiles. Most of what he earned, he saved, and he saved. His savings grew enough that he could afford to buy a motorbike to give a riding service like a motorbike taxi which in Khmer is called “Moto Dub”. You can waive while standing on a corner and a moto dub driver will come and ask where your destination is. Khea used his motorbike to learn some income to live. What changed everything was when he thought about developing his life with investment in education. 

He believed that education can lead to a bright future. He decided to attend school. His commitment and hard work in study allowed him to finish his high school successfully. 

New Life at New Life Foundation 

Khea came to New Life Foundation and met some great friends who shared the love of God with him. He decided to accept Jesus as his Lord, and Savior. His life started to be filled with joy, and he met other great Christians who love , supported , and mentored him to move on in life until he graduated from his university in English literature. Right now Khea is an influential English teacher. He teaches a few classes at New Life Foundation. One of his classes, he has almost 80 students. They love to learn English with Siev Khea.