From Cambodia to Rhode Island, the Journey to Betterment and Education

When you move to another country without knowing the native language the odds are stacked against you, everything that you once knew how to do…

When you move to another country without knowing the native language the odds are stacked against you, everything that you once knew how to do and say in your tongue has now become difficult. This difficult task is not impossible, as Thomith Chin’s experience will show us.

Thomith Chin grew up in Cambodia and lived there for twenty years before he moved to Providence, Rhode Island with his sister and mother. His journey started by working through the day while attending class at night. He enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at the Community College of Rhode Island. Education is not something that he takes lightly, Chin saw what he needed to do in order to make it in this country and he wasted no time getting started. After finishing community college he transferred to the University of Virginia.

“My mom is a big influence; she always wanted me to pursue higher education,” Chin said. Chin remembers back in Cambodia his mother used to work multiple jobs to send him to school.

At the University of Virginia Chin is the founder of a non-profit called the International Youth for a Better World (IYFABW). The organization is the result of an idea that came from him wanting to see a more balanced amount of young represented as the leaders and changemakers in society.

“Young people like us are always told that we are the backbone of society and when I look at the UN council, I see old people. I want to make what we are told a reality,” Chin states.

The IYFABW was launched in the fall of 2018 and helps train and support early-career civic leaders by receiving support from local businesses, stakeholders, and government officials to then help train the new breed of civic leaders so they can help make changes to the issues within their communities. His organization is in the process of registering as an NGO so they can continue to create change on a much larger platform.

“We plan to train the people involved in our community as leaders and entrepreneurs so they can lead their community and address the problems that the community faces,” Chin said.

His organization which focuses on a “one-goal philosophy” aims to “work with one country at a time for a period of a year.” One of the projects the IYFABW worked on was in the Battambang Province in Cambodia, where members were able to visit the Kasdal Village at the PhomKunDam School and were able to provide books and pencils after evaluating the school’s conditions.

Chin has a few more goals up his sleeve which include completing college, running another successful project and creating more changemakers, and not letting his mom work anymore. These goals can be challenging at times when he sees how hard his mom and sister works to pay the bills.

“It is a financial challenge. I am the man of the family, and seeing my mom and sister working three jobs to pay the bills, it is a challenge for me, but it is not going to stop me from what I want to do” Chin remarks.

Chin knows that everything that has happened to him thus far has arisen for a reason. This is why he is also meticulous about making sure his decisions do not leave him filled with regret.

“Life is very short and unpredictable so if you have a dream or passion, or anything you want to do you must follow it and do it right now and do not be afraid of failure. Live fully and wisely.”



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