Cheata, Cambodia

“My ambitions have completely changed. Before I used to think there were no opportunities for a peasant girl like me. Now I want to be Prime Minister of Cambodia.”

Cheata was born in Bour village in rural Cambodia. Like most girls from her background, including her three sisters, she never dreamed of traveling the world or becoming a global role model.

Along with her friends, Cheata lived at daily risk from landmines and unexploded bombs and her uncle was injured when he set off a landmine.

Everything changed for Cheata when she became involved with Spirit of Soccer. After taking part in Mine Risk Education and soccer programs she was selected to represent the organization at the Football for Hope Festival at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

On her return from South Africa Cheata moved to Battambang, learned English and started training with the Cambodian National Under 16 team. “I feel completely different” she said after the trip. “I have learned so many things. A lot has changed about me”.

Later Cheata became part of the internationally-renowned SALT Academy in Battambang, traveled to speak about her experiences in Germany and in 2014 won a scholarship to the USA. She is currently studying in Washington state.