I grew up living hand to mouth in Cambodia. I secretly enrolled in the circus when I was 13, and it became my lifeline out of poverty.

I never thought that I’d become a professional circus artist. But juggling and performing gravity-defying acts for Phare, the Cambodian Circus, has not only brought me joy and fulfillment, it has also helped me make a living. It has become my passport to the world.

It’s been an unlikely journey. I was born in 1993 in Battambang, in the northwest of Cambodia. I was the second of four kids. My parents, siblings, and I lived with our grandparents, all of us in a small house on one plot of land.

Growing up, my family lived a hand-to-mouth existence. My grandparents were farmers, my mother sold fish in the market, and my father hawked ice cream around town. All of them had survived the Khmer Rouge but never talked about it. It’s likely that they had spent time in refugee camps because most families in our village had come from the same camps.

In full: https://www.insider.com/joining-circus-teenager-cambodia-phare-siem-reap

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