“I work as teacher because I love children,” says Kea Dino, a bright 22-year-old from Kampong Thom, Cambodia.
Her enthusiasm for teaching is palpable immediately as is her dedication. In addition to working as a teacher and librarian at a local school, Dino is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Accounting at nearby Kampong Thom University.
Given all of her existing commitments, Dino knows that her decision to join Room to Read earlier this year as a field facilitator for the School Library program might come as a surprise to some. “I want to share my experiences and knowledge with other librarians,” she says of her newest endeavor.
Born one of three children to an illiterate mother and a father who works as a soldier, Dino knows first-hand the power of a good education. Despite her full schedule, she remains optimistic about her work, calling each of her jobs in its own way an “agent of country development”.
In her new role as field facilitator, Dino’s primary responsibility is to follow up with completed libraries that are under Room to Read’s three year period of support—providing both technical assistance and training to ensure the project’s long-term success. As an added bonus, the site visits provide an opportunity to see up-close the impact each library is having on students’ reading habits. “I am happy when I hear them telling stories and singing songs, and especially to see them able to read,” she says.
Before starting as a facilitator Dino had her share of doubts. “I was really enthusiastic to start the job, but worried about failing—thinking I might be unable to do the work well,” she recalls. “I was also concerned about my personal security traveling long distances to visit many schools in the area.”
As time went on, though, encouragement from her parents and extensive training from Room to Read gave Dino the confidence she needed, and “my fondness for children,” she says, “gave me courage.” She is now an extremely successful facilitator and relishes the opportunity to use her personal experience as a librarian to help the communities she works with.
“This is my dream—to help young children develop a habit of reading,” says Dino confidently, and it seems she’s already on her way to making that dream come true.