Dear Daddy

voicesBy Sophearoth,

He’s one of​ the reasons I took the challenge to apply for a job at a leading research institute.

IMG_20181022_144933.jpg©Ravy Sophearoth

Well, let me introduce this man to you. My dad is just an ordinary man who didn’t get a chance to enroll in university back in the 1980s. Although he lost his chance, he still tries his best to give me opportunities to reach out to my dream and pursue any level of education I plan to.

Financially and mentally, he supported all the decisions I’ve made in life, including choosing my major in university, going for an exchange program or even deciding my future career. Even though we aren’t rich, this man and his wife (my mom) always listen to my explanations and let me fly toward my goals.

However, every time people ask me what my parents do (or what my dad does) I’m always proud to tell them that my dad is working at an NGO as a GARDENERa typical gardener. Most people are surprised because they expect that my dad would work in a higher position compared to this. I don’t know (or care) if they underestimate my life just because of my dad’s job.

Compared to his friends, my dad doesn’t mention his job much. Sometimes, he told me not to tell my friends what he does for a living because he was afraid that I would be bullied by my friends or he assumed that I would feel ashamed about it.

He’s totally wrong because I am so proud of him. Yep, I do feel proud.

I remember when I was young, my dad always took me to parties at his workplace (the research institute). I saw a lot of educated people who wore glasses, dressed up beautifully and behaved politely. They looked so fancy. During the party, they were having fun while my dad was not (I assumed). He needed to carry tables or chairs, arranging the party for them. But daddy still smiled at me. I remember he told me to study hard so that in the future I could look cool like many researchers there. He said, “Educated people are respected.”

I marked his words in my mind, and I promised myself that one day I will be one of the researchers standing on the stage to prove to my dad that he is also a cool person.

IMG_20181022_145313.jpg©Ravy Sophearoth

That although he is just a gardener who didn’t finish his undergraduate degree, he could raise two kids who are now studying in their senior years.

He might not be able to buy his kids plane tickets for vacations abroad, but he teaches his kids to earn their flight through education.

He earns little, but he gives his kids enough of what they want and need.

How can I feel ashamed of this awesome man (and his wife) when I cannot even achieve half of what he has.

Seven months ago, I applied for a small position at my dad’s workplace and I was selected. I was so happy because at least it could be considered as a small proof to daddy that this is his achievement too and he is the inspiration behind my effort.  

This is just a story of a man and his daughter. I believe your story would be better in different ways. I wrote this because I want you to take some time to appreciate the people who work so hard for your comfortable life, regardless of their social status.


Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

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