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20 Years of Hope: Theo

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In 2017, nineteen-year-old Theo applied for a college scholarship sponsored by LWB’s Cambodia College Scholarship program. He came from a very poor family that struggled greatly to make ends meet. Theo and his two younger brothers were dependent on their mother for support. Unfortunately, she was not always healthy enough to work, so life was quite difficult.

With the scholarship in place to support him, Theo enrolled at Build Bright University in Battambang Province, Cambodia. “I want to be a great engineer. It is my dream,” he told us.

College student in a gold shirt holding a brochure from Build Bright University

Because he was such a bright and personable young man, we decided that Theo would make an excellent addition to our LWB Cambodia staff – in addition to keeping up with his studies, of course! He initially worked as a medical assistant, helping us to keep donors updated on some of the children in our two Believe In Me schools. Theo later served as a teacher at our Rangsei school and then joined LWB’s foster care team as one of our managers in February 2019. It was plain to see that Theo was a remarkable person!

Teen boy sitting on a bench with a scarf over his shoulder

On the weekends, Theo studied at Build Bright University. This is quite normal in Cambodia as many students attend school on weekends so they can earn a living during the week. In the fall of 2021, Theo transferred to Build Bright’s Phnom Penh campus to finish his degree in Civil Engineering.

By this time, he was a much-loved member of the LWB staff, and his work associates threw him a wonderful going-away party. Although he would be greatly missed, everyone was happy to see Theo advancing further towards his degree.

Group of older teens celebrating with a cake 20 Years of Hope Theo

While finishing up his last two years of studies, Theo worked for a construction company as a site engineer. He must have been doing a marvelous job because he was assigned to the renovation of two buildings at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. This is an important historical site that dates back to the mid-19th century, and Theo tells us it has been a great honor to work on a project of such importance to his homeland of Cambodia.

Young man at a construction site wearing a helmet

This fall at Build Bright University, Theo successfully defended his thesis and graduated with his Civil Engineering degree! We are thrilled to hear that he has been able to continue his work as a site engineer on the Royal Palace project. Seeing him in his cap and gown after all of these years of study and hard work is so special.

Man in graduation cap and gown standing in front of Angkor Wat in Cambodia

As a lovely aside, Theo’s long-time girlfriend, Danna, is also in LWB’s college scholarship program. Also an impressive student, Danna is working to graduate from a four-year nursing program. We are so proud of these two young people for working toward solid careers and making the official move out of poverty and into the middle class.

Young couple in Cambodia

Even a young person as smart and hard-working as Theo needs a bit of extra support to help make their dreams come true. Thanks to some wonderful sponsors of our Cambodia College Scholarship program, this young man is now well on his way to a successful and meaningful professional life. We are truly grateful to the supporters who made this possible!

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