OUR VOICES: Thom Toi, Assistant Coach OUR VOICES: Thom Toi, Assistant Coach

By SeeBeyondBorders -

"For my generation there were lots of difficulties. I want to help this generation have a better life than my own."

Meet Thom Toi. She is a parent and grandparent and has been an Assistant Coach on SeeBeyondBorders’ Sports program since January 2014.

“I have 4 older children and 2 grandchildren. My eldest daughter is a teacher, and my second eldest daughter has a scholarship to study in Vietnam. My two youngest children are in secondary school now. My two grandchildren are both at Khom Bavel primary school where I am an Assistant Coach.

My role in the school is to support teachers with sports lessons. I come to the school before the lesson starts and support decisions about what lessons to run, help the teachers to set up, and help with facilitating the lesson. I want to make sure that sport is fun! 

"I have supported all of my children to get an education. I believe that when someone is given education they will be able to improve their conditions and themselves"  

 

I have supported all of my children to get an education. I believe that when someone is given education they will be able to improve their conditions and themselves.  For my generation education was limited, there were lots of difficulties. I want to help this generation have a better life than my own.

I had four children to send to school all at the same time and I only have a small amount of land.  A lot of people in the community didn’t think that my children should study, or that I should send my children to school far away. They thought that they should work instead. But I think that for my children to go to school….well, it can bring a good future for my children, and now for my grandchildren.  It is not easy and there are a lot of obstacles…the economic situation is one, and other people blame my family for sending my children to school and judge me for it. But I will continue to believe it is right to have an education.

We have a responsibility as mothers and grandmothers to help our child’s education. It is our role to support the school and it will be strengthened from our involvement. The school does not belong to one person, but to everybody and it is important for the community to be involved.  We have more eyes to see the problems that others might not have seen. We are able to come together to discuss how we can improve those things, and to develop the school to give advantage to its students.

"The school does not belong to one person, but to everybody and it is important for the community to be involved"

 

But not everyone thinks like that. Some people still do not value education. But I believe that education can help my child and so I will do what I can to support it. 

I think that the community can do a lot to help, especially with the school environment. We are able to contribute money and resources and help with the labour to help make the school better. If other people are brave and make the decision to help, then we are able to do so much more.  Community involvement supports transparency and I can see that it helps the school make more improvements.  I have noticed that with SeeBeyondBorders involvement there is less corruption with money collected to build or make improvements to the school. We recognise that it is about community power.  We need community ownership and involvement to stop corruption in our community.

I have noticed the school getting better, especially with the environment. There is less rubbish and you can see more of the trees, and grass, which is better for our children. We grow flowers and plant trees and do gardening with the students.  We make sure that the students collect the rubbish properly. I think it is much nicer now.

I can see that SeeBeyondBorders are involved in these changes.  They have brought us together and empowered the community to make these changes, and encouraged the teachers, the students and the parents to be involved more. It is important for us to see the challenges and come up with solutions to solve these problems ourselves. The more people are involved the more change we can make. 

SeeBeyondBorders has definitely helped the community here to come together and see what is possible.”

As told to Victoria Riley.

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