My name is Kunthea Ny and I dream of becoming a midwife.
It all started about one year ago when Green Gecko Project sponsored me to attend a humanitarianism and leadership symposium in Phnom Penh. It was there that I met my idol, Robin Lim – a midwife and the founder of Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) health clinics.
Robin helps thousands of low-income women in Indonesia achieve healthy pregnancies and successful births. I was so inspired – I instantly knew I wanted to do the same thing for women in Cambodia.
I want to open my own midwifery clinic and offer free services to the many women in my country that are afraid to see a doctor or that don’t have access to a hospital. Or the free hospital is too full and they have to sell their land in order to afford to pay for a private hospital.
I began watching YouTube clips about midwifery. Then, unexpectedly, my Green Gecko Project sister went into labor. There was no one about and there wasn’t enough time to get her to the hospital. I wasn’t ready to deliver a baby yet, but I had no choice. Her water broke. My sister was on the ground and pushed.
I had never touched a newborn baby before. At first, it was yucky as he came out and then when he started crying, I felt pity. I didn’t want him to feel sad. But then, I felt nothing but love for him and for my sister, who had a big smile on her face. I wasn’t confident to cut the cord so we waited for the nearby midwife to arrive.
The experience confirmed my dream to become a midwife and to help women prepare for birthing. My sister’s baby was premature and she didn’t have an emergency plan. I don’t want other women to have an unprepared birth like my sister!
First things first though, I needed to learn more about women’s health. I still have one more year to finish high school, so attending the midwifery school in Battambang is not yet an option for me. That’s why I decided to intern with Women’s Resource Center in my spare time.
I had previously attended a Women’s Resource Center workshop as a participant, so I knew I could learn a lot from them. Back then Pisey facilitated the health workshop. She taught me so much. I had no idea what a period was or the difference between a boy and girl’s body. I was so shy and nervous to learn about these things, but Pisey made us feel so comfortable – we could ask her anything!
I have been interning for about four months now. I help the Health Facilitators prepare and run their workshops. I am learning so much about women’s health and how to prevent sickness, like by having proper hand, body and food hygiene.
I’m so happy for the opportunity to learn from the women at Women’s Resource Center. Thanks to my internship, I’m also learning about domestic violence and women’s rights. My eyes have been opened to the possibilities of knowledge and what basic education can do for a person, a family and the community.
I don’t know how the workshop participants would know about their health if they didn’t attend Women’s Resource Center’s workshops. So many times, these women spend all their money on doctors and medicines for a sickness that could have been prevented, if only they knew how to look after themselves and their families. That’s why I think learning about your health is so important.
With the knowledge I’m gaining from Women’s Resource Center, I can now better help my community. With my Green Gecko Project sister, I started a girl group called ‘Tnai Samrap Srey’. We talk to teenage girls about puberty and the resulting changes to the body. Like me before, these girls don’t know what their period is. Some even think its leeches inside! I can help them look after their bodies as they become young women and prevent unnecessary health problems. Thanks to Heart to Harmony, we also give out period packs, including re-usable cotton pads. You simply wash the pads and they last for about three years!
I’m nervous about my future, but with the support of my Green Gecko Family and having Pisey as a mentor, and seeing how she overcame being from a poor family and rose above her challenges, I know I can succeed. Like her, I’m keen to keep on learning and to share everything. I know that if I work hard, I can too achieve like Pisey. Thanks to all the women in my life, I’m sure my dream will come true!