When coming of age, many of our resident children decide to attend University or trade school in Phnom Penh. Having lived in a sheltered community such as Wat Opot, the adjustment to big city life can be scary and challenging. For this reason the Youth in Transition program was created.
Presently the program is run by Mr. Sina Khin, a Watopotian with a degree in Law, and overseen by Wayne Dale Matthysse. Quarterly meetings are scheduled, usually at a soup kitchen, where a majority of the students and graduates usually attend. The purpose of the gatherings is not only to enjoy a good meal together but to share and encourage each other as well. Individual counselling and job placement is also provided by Mr. Khin when needed.
Presently there are 13 University or trade school students in the program, with another 10 who’ve graduated or are working in Phnom Penh. Students are provided with a monthly stipend, which covers all of their tuition, most of their school fees, and some of their living cost, however, intentionally not all of their needs are met and most find it necessary to work at least part time to survive.
As of 2016 there were five University graduates, one in nursing, two in law, and one in civil engineering and one in midwifery. Three others are expected to graduate in 2017, two from the Royal University of Arts and one from Limkoving International University. Three others are presently working on business degrees. Another is a professional singer and appears on television from time to time… nine others have or are attending vocational training for chefs, air-conditioning repair, motorcycle repair, and silversmithing. Many others are working in Phnom Penh and several are married with children. Most stay in touch with the Wat Opot Community and from time to time stop by to share their success with the newer members who have taken their place.