Primary school students, Takok Phnong, Northeast Cambodia

During my visit to a rural school in Takok Phnong village I asked a few students of their ambitions for the future.

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‘I want to be a doctor’, Bunheng, 7

‘I want to be a soldier or a police officer.’, Ngun, 8

‘Mechanic.’, – Vany, 9

Given their situation – living in such a poor village, which has only recently been exposed to a primary school for the first time, and with no established route yet onto secondary school, it is hard to know whether these ambitions are of course likely or feasible. The vast majority of the people in the villages go on to work in the fields and the farms but despite their isolation it was clear that the young children were aware of the wider world.

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Speaking to these students reminded me of my thoughts when I left New Zealand and writing about the notion of choices; those that have them; those that don’t; and of course those who, if given a choice or an opportunity, choose to take it…

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