Samnang Sok was born in 1982 during civil war in Cambodia after Pol Pot regime collapsed in 1979. Born into a poor family with seven sons and daughters, he was sent to live with his aunts to look after cows and buffalos at the age of three. Living in an area of relentless fighting in a poor community, it was impossible for him to get any form of state education.
In 1991 Cambodia had Paris Peace Agreement between three parties. 1993-1997 After the first election in Cambodia that organized and supported by UN, Samnang’s villagers and other villagers in the region fled to live with the new government in the Chongkall district. However this upheaval was difficult for the elderly and led to a lot of them dying. With no assigned farmland, a lot of the families’ animals also died.
Most of villagers were too scared to leave the village they were placed in but after three months of turmoil, a number of families decided to take the plunge and move back to their village in order to farm and plough rice that they needed in order to stay alive. However after a week, the Khmer Rouge moved Samnang’s family and other families to live in the jungle. They were forced to stay here for four years, without any healthcare, schools or any contact with the outside world. On top of this, every family member was forced daily to make sharp sticks for Khmer Rouge’s fighting.
In 1997 the Government armies found the village in jungle and moved all villagers to their original village, which had been saturated with mines and sharp sticks. After these were cleared away and families began to start their life there again. But without any infrastructure this was an extremely difficult time.
In 1999 Samnang decided to become a Buddhist monk and in 2002 Samnang decided to come to a pagoda in Siem Reap to start an education for the first time in his life. He began Buddhist primary school at the age of 21. While he was studying at Buddhist secondary and high school, Samnang became dedicated to volunteering for NGOs in Siem Reap and helping children in his village with education and health care. With Samnang’s projects growing from strength to strength, in 2013 he founded the NGO, Action For Cambodia’s Children- AFCC. AFCC is dedicated to empowering children living in the communities in the Siem Reap province by providing them with the education and healthcare they so vitally need.