Over 400 women applied and 16 women were selected to participate. One of those women was Treng Kuy Chheng, an engaging and dynamic young woman who is a senior accountant for DDD in Phnom Penh. Marking her ten year anniversary with DDD, Chheng shares her story. My first day at DDD I arrived in the blue skirt and white blouse and wondered what those 20 people were doing with their computers. Ten years later and today I'm sitting in Battambang, counseling our staff with disabilities that are moving to Phnom Penh. This is amazing to me to witness DDD's growth and how it has brought job opportunities and social impact to the global south. For many years people with disabilities have been the subject of either pity or prejudice. But I say that I have the ability, I just do it in a different way. One day I was walking back from school. I fell down on the road. But the neighbors did not help me. Rather, they said "Why do you need to go to school? Even if you study, where will you get a job?" That moment I made up my mind that I will not stop. I will make my dreams come true. Digital Divide Data was my first job experience. I was18 years old and I knew very little English and had no real experience using a computer. But I worked hard and DDD gave me a scholarship to attend Pannasastra University where I studied accounting. My first dream, to get a job, came true. But I had another dream, to see the world. By participating in the Global Change Leaders program, I got to spend 5 months in Canada with 15 other incredible women from 13 different countries. In seminars and workshops we learned about effective leadership and communications, advocacy, and assets based community development. I then went to Montreal to work with the DisAbled Women's Network, (DAWN) and produced a business plan to develop a supply chain for orthotic devices in the Caribbean. The idea is this will be a social enterprise, (like DDD!) employing disabled women to sell the devices. Now I have an even bigger dream! I want to create job opportunities for other PWDs. And I know I will soon be doing that. In 10 years DDD transformed a naive girl to someone who became one of 16 women selected as a global change leader. I'm so proud to be part of DDD and never tire of telling DDD's story about how much impact it has had in Cambodia and Laos and especially for myself. Nothing In the world is more harmful than isolating someone or isolating oneself! I want to stop pity and prejudice against PWD's. I want people to understand: It's just that we do it differently.
Chheng being interviewed on Radio Canada International