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We at FamilyEducation recognize truly extraordinary parents who have overcome adversity to achieve amazing things for themselves and their children. In this installment, we meet Sophy, a married mother of two who survived the Cambodian genocide.

Transcript: My kids mean the world to me. They are the love of my life. They are the most important and valuable people I have in my life. When I get home, they’re the first thing on my mind. They come and run and hug and give me kisses. That just makes everything that may have happened during the day so much better.

I was born during the Cambodian genocide. I was not born in a hospital, it was in the jungle in the labor camps. It was a very hard time for everybody in the country. There wasn’t enough to eat. I ended up pretty much having to find my own food whether it was picking up banana peels and eating that. Taking a mini ax and chopping down baby corn. Also begging for food, that’s essentially how I survived. My elder brother died of starvation. So many other children and parents had also passed away of starvation. The genocide lasted for approximately 3, 3 ½ years. A lot of the Khmer people just tried to flee. It was about a 10-day trek from where we were to the refugee camps We were trying to escape the bullets, we were trying to escape the landmine and a lot of people died along the way. After living in about 4 to 5 refugee centers when we were chosen through a lottery to come to the united states

When I was about 26 years old, I decided to jot down the memories and stories of myself that had happened. I actually wrote a play called Flashes. I think that has helped me come to terms with what happened back then. I believe what has happened to me in the past has strengthened me. I’m more vocal about sharing different emotions, different thoughts, different feelings. And I want to make sure that my kids grow up strong have more confidence, have more happiness and being opened and willing to express themselves.

I do consider myself lucky in many ways. I have my two beautiful children, a husband who is very caring. I have a very supportive family. We don’t have anyone else to depend upon but our family. Without family, I really wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

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