Blessed in Suffering

Dr. Sythan was one of the early NCF Seed Medical Practitioners. Last year, Dr. Sythan received the "National Outstanding Dental Talent Award" from the Prime Minister of Cambodia. The NCF is very proud of her!

We always see the bright side of Dr. Sythan but don’t know that she had a miserable past.

"I grew up in an orphanage. My parents died in the Khmer's rouge period. I became an orphan and was sent to an orphanage. When I was a kid, I earned my living by selling sweet potatoes on the Phnom Penh streets. I didn't have money to go to school. I didn't go to elementary school until I was 12 years old."

In the year when Dr. Sythan graduated from high school, "Someone paid me to cheat in the national dentist application exam. I had to pass all my answers to him during the exam. In the end, both of us passed the exam! But I just graduated from high school, so my family and teachers encouraged me to attend college and be a dentist. You can say it’s a beautiful mistake that I become a dentist. I always wanted to be a lawyer instead of being a dentist!"

Dr. Sythan’s sister had been providing her financial support for a long time. “But my sister cut off her financial support when I was in the college. Dr. Sythan didn't even have money to photocopy the lecture notes. She had to borrow lecture notes from others then stay up late writing them down on books every night after school. Sythan's neighbors learned of her situation and offered her help. Gradually they fell in love and married.

Sadly, Dr. Sythan's husband passed away few years ago. "My husband is a good friend of mine, and a good father of three children, until he left us and went back to Heaven..."

I remember the year when I met Dr. Sythan was the same year her husband passed away. We met at the Chang Gung Forum in Taiwan. She was always gentle and polite, yet she showed professional confidence. "I won two national dental professional awards in 2015 and 2019. It is a great honor." I believe that no matter how hard the road ahead, Dr. Sythan can fight the battle successfully.

"One year of training in Taiwan I gained a lot. I am now working hard to train young doctors in my working place, hoping that I can train more dentists on cleft lip and palate treatment. In my lifetime, I hope to see more colleagues focus on oral care treatment in Cambodia, especially patients with cleft lip and palate."

Thank you Dr. Sythan, miracle of life! The tribulations and challenges in the past have shaped Dr. Sythan's tough character and superb skills, and I believe she will be a blessing to Cambodia.

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