Poverty is never a hindrance to success as long as one shows determination to fight through life and achieve his goals whatever it takes. This is what Phy Chan has just proven after he opened up his very own businesses – a garage in Phnom Penh.
Through the help of Plan International Cambodia’s “Auto Mechanic Skill Training to Disadvantaged Out of School Youth programme”, Mr Chan was able to train at the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (NPIC) and learned the technical aspects of repairing machineries. NPIC is funded by Hyundai and KOICA.
Mr Chan, now 28, left school after he finished Grade 12 because of financial problems. But he wanted to learn more, achieve more. So he went to train at NPIC in 2014 under Plan International’s programme and received two-year training in machinery. After completing his vocational training, Mr Chan spent more than a year working at another person’s garage, where he learned more skills and gained more experiences.
It was in 2017 when he thought of taking much advantage of his skills by investing in his own garage.
“I think if I worked for them, I’d just get this kind of salary. So I decided to run my own garage. I wasn’t very sure at first if I’d earn more from it. But I am very happy to be working in my own business,” Mr Chan shared.
Before he started learning about machineries at NPIC, Mr Chan had industrial jobs for two years. As the eldest of five siblings, he knew he had a huge responsibility to support his family.
Mr Chan said, “After grade 12, I was forced to stop my education because we had financial problems that time. I worked at industrial facilities for two years so I can earn money to support my family. Even with the financial hardships, I didn’t want to go to other countries for work like other people.”
It was at one of his jobs where Mr Chan met his uncle who encouraged him to study auto mechanic. Mr Chan eventually decided to quit his job and started the training right away. But knowing that he can’t stop providing for his family, he also worked as a waiter at night after spending the whole day at the training centre.
Now that Mr Chan has his own garage, he now can say that he made the right decision to never give up despite poverty.
His garage is co-owned by a close friend. It offers car cleaning, several kinds of repairs and other auto services. With his own business, he earns more money compared to when he was still employed by another garage owner.
Since opening his garage early this year, Mr Chan said customers just keep growing and growing. He credits his passion and skills for the trust his loyal customers are giving him. Even if the garage is a bit small, he now earns enough money to support his whole family. He plans to establish several branches to cater to more customers in the future.
“I want to expand my garage to be bigger than it is now. When I was young, I wanted to be a tailor or a cameraman. But the circumstances led me to use whatever skill I have learned and use it to survive. The price range in my garage is considerably lower compared to any other garage in the city. When people come here, they get a good price for a quality service,” said Mr Chan.
“If I did not learn this skill from the two-year training, I think I’m still doing labour for another person now, and I will not earn enough money. The opening of this business helped me and my family a lot.”
“I just really want to tell the young people of Cambodia who were forced to leave school that they’re dreams should not end there. If they can’t go to university or college, they should at least learn something that they can make use of to earn money to provide for themselves and their families. They should start acquiring some skills because if you are good at something, it will be beneficial to you.”
Plan International’s programme “Auto Mechanic Skill Training to Disadvantaged Out of School Youth” is aimed to secure decent work for disadvantaged out-of-school youth residing in Phnom Penh’s urban areas, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, Siem Reap and Thboung Khmum. The organisation has so far provided skills training and employments for over 140 young Cambodians.