Pheang Srey Leak

I am Pheang Srey Leak. I am seventeen years old.

Photographer: Paul Garrett, Cambodia

At first I did not use any sign language.  I went to school for two years with other children and my brothers and sisters who can hear. I went for grade one and grade two. I felt very lonely when I was in school because I could not communicate with other children. So I felt that I had a lot of difficulties in communicating with my friends.

I have difficulties because of the communication with the other people. In my family, my parents do not understand sign language, but I have two younger brothers who can understand sign language. So whenever my parents want to talk to communicate with me, they always ask my two brothers to help translate for me.

I often go to my family during important festivals like Khmer New Year and the Water Festival. I have just gone home recently when my grandfather passed away. But my relatives came here and picked me up. I really want to travel alone but I am not allowed. My family do not allow me to travel because they are concerned about my safety. When a deaf person travels alone, he or she might face a lot of problems and unsafe situations. One time I was cheated by a motor-taxi driver. They cheated me because they charged more than for normal travel.

I think that women have more problems and more difficulties than men. I think that men have more safety because men have more strength.

I am now working as a tailor and I am responsible for sewing wallets. I have received training on the general tailoring, but I could not find a job doing general tailoring of clothes. But when I came to this program I received training on sewing wallets, so I work in this program now.

I will continue to work in this program. But when I develop my skills and knowledge about sewing of wallets, I may move out to live in a separate house for my private life. I want to have a better job in order to get better payment so that I can use my income to support my family. If I have no skill and I do not have any knowledge, I live only in the family and have to depend on the family; I may face more difficulties than what I have today.

I also want to get married and have children because I like children and I want to have a very happy family. 

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