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A Survivor's Journey: Amanda Sam's Escape from Genocide in Cambodia to a New Life in Virginia

Her Story

Amanda is a Cambodian survivor. In July 1979, Amanda Sam and her family had to flee their hometown in Cambodia to avoid the Khmer Rouge genocide where 2.5 million people were killed or died from starvation and disease. Their journey through the jungle was dangerous.  They drank water with human bodies floating in it, ate spoiled food and walked through bobby-trapped rice paddies. Amanda and her family were separated and it was not until they reached Thailand that they were reunited in a refugee camp.  However, during the journey, Amanda lost two siblings to starvation and a brother was imprisoned for 7 years.
Amanda came to the United States when she was twelve years old. She did not know English and was not able to read or write in her own language. She felt lonely but worked hard and graduated from high school in 1990.
Her life-long dream is to rebuild a school in a very rural part of Cambodia where she was born and where her father taught before they had to flee due to the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. In 2019, a new charity, Helping Others Pursue Education, was founded to build schools and to educate the poorest of the poor in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse.

Today she lives in Henrico, Virginia with her two sons. She is active in the local Cambodian community and travels to Cambodia yearly to bring supplies to the poor, and visit with families and children that attend Raing Kessey Primary School.

To Request Amanda as a speaker, click HERE.

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