September 12, 2018: Students at the TT dorm met with honorary Board Member Chea Veasna, the woman who inspired Alan Lightman to create the Harpswell Foundation. Veasna was the first woman to study law at the Royal University of Law and Economics and she is now an accomplished lawyer. When Veasna met Alan in 2004, she told him the story of how she had lived in a crawl space beneath her school during university due to a lack of dorms for women. Veasna’s determination inspired Alan to create the first dormitory for women in Phnom Penh.

Veasna’s conversation with the students lasted over 3 hours, as they were eager to ask her questions about her background, family, and career, including her experience studying and working in such a male-dominated field. Veasna advised students to focus on being positive and persistent and to always look for the bright side of life.

One student commented that Veasna’s “persistence and stubbornness shaped her into a very strong and energetic person” and that speaking with Veasna left them feeling motivated, inspired and with new perspectives on life.