Narin is a bright young second grader from Chombok He Primary School in Siem Reap. Her wide smile and enthusiasm make it hard to believe that this little girl has already experienced incredible hardship.
After his wife passed away a few years ago, Narin’s father, an army man, was forced to relocate to the Thai border. He left his daughter behind to live with her grandmother, who earns a meager living selling rice noodles at the local market.
Narin’s day starts at the break of dawn helping her grandmother with household chores and assisting with preparation of the noodles. Unable to afford a bicycle, she then walks a mile and a half to school, rushing so as to have time in the library before class.
“The library period is too short and not enough for me, so I make extra time to go there whenever I can,” she says with a smile.
Narin has not always been such an enthusiastic reader, but ever since Room to Read established a library at her school in 2010, she is a regular visitor. She loves playing with the puzzles and games there, and knows where to find all her favorite books by heart.
“I read about eight books each day, and borrow two or so to take home with me at a time,” she says. “I read those stories aloud to my grandmother who is very proud of my skills and also to my uncle who is in seventh grade.”
“Ever since she started going to the library, Narin’s reading skills have improved considerably,” says Narin’s teacher. “She can now read at a third grade reading level, and is a role model for other students in the school.”
Narin plans to put her academic prowess to good use, and has set some very ambitious career goals for herself. “I want to be a doctor, so that I can help people,“ she says. “ I am working hard to get there and I am confident that I will be able to fulfill my dreams.”
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