Lives changed for good
Lim Leanghorng’s passion for social work began in 2012, when he had the opportunity to assist a group of visually challenged individuals. This was part of the Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking (LEaRN) Programme – it gave him unprecedented access into the individuals’ lives to learn about their hopes and fears. Little did he realise that this would change his life forever.
Today, as an educator at Kent Ridge International School, Cambodia, Mr Leanghorng, 25, incorporates social work into the curriculum. “It encourages a sense of empathy, which is very important if we want to groom future leaders who understand their people’s needs,” he says.
“The LEaRN Programme opened the door to another world for me, and I’ll never forget that,” he adds. He explains that it has made him a more effective leader, and most importantly, a global educator. “We might live locally, but we should always think and work globally,” he says.
For Sea Sithdara, 28, an information technology officer at Cambodia’s Ministry of Health, the skills from LEaRN were especially useful when he graduated from college to enter the workforce. The problem-solving methods, time management skills and importance of peer-to-peer networking have been key in helping him tackle the daily challenges of day-to-day operations in his workplace.
But Mr Sithdara’s fondness for the LEaRN Programme goes beyond that. For him, the friendships made were the most significant part: in 2012, he organised a holiday trip to Seoul, Korea, with four LEaRN participants. He still has the 2011 edition of the programme magazine, well kept. He smiles warmly as he flips the pages gently, pointing out friends, mentors and roommates in the magazine’s photographs. “I remember the LEaRN Programme as if it happened only yesterday,” he muses. “It was a short four-month period, but one of the most important phases of my life.”
Participants from Kent Ridge International School and the Ministry of Health, Cambodia, in: Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking (LEaRN) Programme by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Temasek Foundation International
Text by Prabhu Silvam
*More of such stories can be found in Temasek Foundation International's 10th anniversary commemorative book 'Leading Journeys: Inspirations for Asia and Beyond".