Bel is the teacher of our Disability Awareness Educational programme. He has been sharing his experience and his knowledge for more than 6 months now with many students. Discover his inspiring story.
A life changing accident
Born right in the aftermath of Cambodian Genocide, Bel’s life was torn apart by the civil war. His brother joined Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge whereas his other brother joined the opposition, the army of PRK (People’s Republic of Kampuchea). At the age of seven years old, his life definitively changed as he stepped on a landmine. An amputation was inevitable. After six months in the hospital, Bel learnt to walk with a bamboo stick. But when he came back to his village, he noticed that something had changed and begun to experience social discrimination because of his disability.
A strong-willed young adult
Bel went to school to receive a junior education and graduated at the top of his class. And since there was no high school in his village, he decided to move to Siem Reap where he attended high school. He also had the opportunity to learn english in this period. But, in spite of his numerous skills, Bel was constantly rejected by employers and had a really hard time finding a job. Realizing how difficult employment for people with disabilities can be, Bel decided to open Khmer Independent Life Team (KILT) in 2003 to help people with physical disabilities earn a living. Bel taught members English and skills to make jewelry, to sew, to make copper wire art, to paint…
Teacher, father and role model
Over the years, he helped several members to get jobs and they started to call him “Teacher Bel“. This was only the beginning of a new achievement. Indeed, Bel started to share his story with students and to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with disability in Cambodia. Through our Educational Programme, Bel reaches children and youth which is essential to create a society that celebrates inclusiveness and support for all people. We want to erase the social stigma against people with disability so that the next generations do not face the same discrimination experienced by Bel. As a father of two and an amazing teacher, Bel is a true role model for the team !