Project Description


Vatey Srun Kea

“Harpswell provided me with a strong sense of community and sisterhood, leadership skills, and a dream of studying abroad. I thought I would just go to university, get good grades, graduate, get a good job, and get married. But I have changed to have bigger dreams. I hope to pursue a master’s degree in International Development in the United States and become an international expert in development work at regional and international organizations like the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, or the United Nations Development Program.”

Investment Manager at Investing in Infrastructure (3i) Cambodia

Degree in Development Economics; post graduate year at Bowdoin College

  • royal-university-of-law-and-economicsRoyal University of Law, Economics, and International Studies in Phnom Penh
  • bowdoin-logoBowdoin College

“I was born into a large family and lived with eight people in a shanty. My mother had to quit her education in primary school to financially support her family and help her own mother take care of her siblings. She ended up working from home, selling groceries for a living. My father is the eldest son of a farmer family. He also struggled financially until he became a high school teacher. Both my parents have spent days and nights working hard to support my basic needs and education.”

Breaking Gender Barriers

“In Cambodia, men are widely considered to be superior and women are given less opportunities in almost every aspect of life. I am only the second woman in my village to study abroad, so I also try really hard to inspire more women in my village and other parts of Cambodia—especially women living in rural Cambodia—to dream big and break the old gender barriers.”

Harpswell’s Impact

“My parents were worried about where I would stay when I went to study in Phnom Penh, the capital, because we do not have any relatives to rely on, nor could we afford renting a house. The Harpswell Foundation provided me a safe and comfortable place to live so I could study in Phnom Penh.  Harpswell provided me with a strong sense of community and sisterhood, leadership skills, and a dream of studying abroad.”