Our Journey to Canada
Meet Ashley Doung, a proud Cambodian-Canadian. She obtained her B.A. Honours in Family and Social Relations from the University of Windsor. Ashley is an avid volunteer and community advocate. She is a Shelter Support Volunteer at the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and a United Nations Youth Delegate at The Youth Assembly at the University of Windsor. Ashley was the SOCANTH Undergraduate Student Council Representative 2018-2019 and was the Student President of WE Charity - UWindsor Chapter . When reflecting on her family's immigration story, this is what she had to say: 🌻 "In 1979, my parents were forced to flee their home in Battambang and Kampong Speu, Cambodia, after the Khmer Rouge regime gained control over the government in 1975. Living on small rations of food and water, my parents took refuge at the Khao-I-Dang Holding Centre in Thailand, until they immigrated to Canada in 1987. 🌻 Parallel to most immigrant families, my parents have always stressed the importance of education. “Education is the key to unlocking all of your successes in life,” my father would say. Back home, the education system was fuelled by rampant corruption, traditions, social norms, gender stereotypes, and was ultimately destroyed by the regime. With this in mind, my parents did not attend school until the age of ten when they fled to Thailand. 🌻 Both of my parents have always had a passion for learning. However, while they both completed primary education in the holding centre and secondary education in Canada, post-secondary education became a distant dream. Due to the cultural demands of starting a family and raising children before 30, my parents delayed much of their educational aspirations to honour their families’ wishes of getting married. With my father eventually working in tool and die and my mother working as a general labourer, my parents have always wanted more for their children. 🌻 Born and raised in Canada, I have had the privilege of pursing a higher education and became the first generation on both of my parents’ side to attend University. Throughout my time in school, my parents have sacrificed their time, labour, and energy to make sure that my siblings and I received the highest quality of education that they weren’t able to receive. 🌻 Based on the stories that my parents and grandparents have told me, my family's strength, courage, and perseverance during what is considered the darkest period of Cambodian history, makes me immensely proud to be the descendant of some of the strongest people I know. Fleeing on foot to Thailand and travelling 13,849 km to Canada, is the reason why I will always be grateful for the sacrifices my parents have made in order for me to obtain an education and pursue my dreams. On this line, the reverberating effects of the Cambodian genocide on my parents has been the sole purpose of why I am passionate and driven to pursue a career in law and global affairs.
🌻 Overall, my parents have helped shape and mould me into the woman I am today. Without their love, support, and sacrifice, I would not be a graduating University student and with that, I owe it all to my parents. "