Can you imagine the feeling of craving a kind of food which is scarce in the world that you are living in?
I’ve been there and I did have that feeling.
This is the story of Ny Veit, a young agricultural professional who went from being an orphan with a bachelor’s degree on food science in Cambodia to becoming an Erasmus scholarship recipient through the ALFABET project that focuses on agriculture development by which she was able to pursue her master studies on “Animal Science and Food Processing” at the Czech Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, where she is currently a PH.D. candidate in Animal Science and Food Processing.
Enjoy reading her inspiring story!
The story started in a remote countryside area in Cambodia. I was raised by many different people. I don’t remember much about my childhood with my parents. And I have never seen my dad’s face, not even his picture. As a kid in this situation, the only thing I could do was to imagine myself having a complete family, going to a good school, having proper clothes, and enough material for studying. Unfortunately, this was all just my imagination while I was herding the cows or working on the farm to earn some money.
During my childhood, I had a dream, which may not be a dream that most kids would have. I always wanted to eat bread, which was not a common food in my village during that time. Now that dream came true. And I’ll tell you how.
My life changed when I was adopted by an orphanage called SOS Children's Village Siem Reap. The time of being raised by one relative after another was gone. The time of using charcoal and pieces of wood instead of chalks and whiteboard for writing had changed. The time of sitting in a broken house which we called school had passed. The time of selling food to my classmates and exchanging wood to pay for language class was finished. But all those memories have never been gone as time passed. They remind me where I come from and define who I am now.
I was a kid who was always scared of changes and loss of people in my life. But one time, I was brave enough to move forward in my life because I wanted to eat bread. I thought If I would be adopted, I would probably have a higher chance of eating bread than in keeping living my life there. So, I agreed to get adopted by this orphanage. Since then I had a warm new family with other orphans and could go to a proper school like other kids. I never expected that one small thing could lead to something big.
From that perspective, I had the aspiration to feed the world. So, I decided to choose my bachelor study in food science. After I graduated, I wanted to extend my study from farm to fork; because I wanted to know how agricultural products are produced before being processed; and also because of the importance of this field in my agriculture-based country, Cambodia.
I wanted to continue my studies. I didn’t want to stop there even though I was no longer supported by the orphanage. As soon as I saw this great opportunity of Erasmus scholarship, I applied immediately. This project, called ALFABET, focuses on agriculture development. It was a long process to get it but it was worth it. Finally, I got selected to continue my master study “Animal Science and Food Processing” at the Czech University of Life Sciences. It was very challenging for me to start a totally new field for master study. But I finally made it.
I have learned a lot throughout this opportunity. It completely changed my life and changed the way I see the world. There are good people out there, there are a lot of possibilities, just do not give up. And I am grateful to those who supported and gave opportunities for those who truly need it.
Today, I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Animal Science and Food Processing. I am working toward what could be done to improve agricultural production, especially animal production. Apart from that, I want to help other kids see what I have seen and get through their hard time no matter their origins. I wish to send this message to all orphans out there. And thanks to this YPARD, I hope this message will reach them to some extent.
Picture credit:Ny Veit