Looking Forwards To Have Better Future
The large-scale culture of migration of Cambodians to Thailand can be said to have started in earnest in the late 1960’s with the Cambodian civil war, culminating in the Khmer Rouge ruling Cambodia.
According to World Bank (2016) figures, in 1968 Cambodian GDP per capita was just 10% behind Thailand’s figure. While this difference is not insignificant, it is unlikely that this would have provoked the mass economic migration that currently exists; GDP per capita in Cambodia today is just 20% of Thailand’s. While of course this wealth is not shared equally amongst all Thai’s it still means that similar labor intensive low skilled jobs would earn considerable more in Thailand than in Cambodia. This contrast in earning potential means that for Cambodian’s the economic incentives to migrate are immense. This has given to rise to a culture of migration in communities throughout Cambodia, and the most are from the provinces that share the border with Thailand.
The high volume of Cambodians who migrate to Thailand has created a network of individuals and businesses operating in Thailand who make a living exploiting the most vulnerable of these migrants. Despite the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) act which was passed in 2003 (Liptapanlop 2003), which was supposed to protect the rights of non-Thai workers in Thailand, exploitation remains an issue. For many Cambodians who migrate, there remain many risks and problems involved, particularly when they migrate illegally. The problems with migration once inside Thailand are said to include, being arrested, not being paid in full, being beaten and being overworked to the point of causing health problems.
Prak Mean as a young boy who has seen his villagers moved to Thailand for work. Living in a village in Banteay Meanchey province, share the border with Thailand; he himself thought that it would be his turn to go; one day even he wanted his life to be different from them.
Attending in a primary school at his village, there was no hope that he could build up his life based on education as he couldn’t read and write. The quality of learning and teaching was poor as many as other children. One day, he was introduced to attend a supplemental education program run by a church in his village where he could gain knowledge on reading and writing skills. The church continued to provide support to him until he passes into high school that located in the town of Monkolborey.
Prak Mean, now 17 years old, has moved to live in a high school dorm that run by Kone Kmeng in order to pursue his education. Right now, he is in grade 10. His dream to be difference has come true. In the future, he wants to be a professor. Not even pursue good education, he also found Jesus to be his Saviour.