Spotlight: Illyasak Hazan

Illyasak Hazan
Illyasak Hazan

YSEALI members are making a difference. In the coming weeks, we will feature young leaders across the ASEAN region who have participated in YSEALI programs and show how joining this community has helped them grow professionally and personally.

Illyasak Hazan, 22
Royal University of Agriculture Researcher, Society for Community Development in Cambodia

Illyasak Hazan, or Yasak as his friends call him, is grateful for the educational opportunities he received in Cambodia and the United States. They inspired him to think about how he could make a difference in his country. So he launched CANBODIA, a mentoring program for secondary school students in rural Cambodia. It is designed to inspire and help them attend university by providing career workshops, scholarship advice and peer mentoring. In the program’s first year, Yasak hopes to help 30 students from his hometown attend university. “My vision is to see all students from rural [Cambodia] get equal opportunity in education,” he says. Yasak says the most rewarding part “is knowing that I am able to contribute back to where I come from.” He also says that starting a service project has improved his leadership skills and made him a more independent, critical thinker. “And these are the soft skills that employers [are] looking for.”

Yasak’s tips for starting a project:

  • Define your community’s problem: Observe your friends, family and neighbors, and ask yourself what problem bothers you the most.
  • Identify your resources and skills: It’s important to know what resources you have to address the problem.
  • You should review and evaluate your resources — including your team, network, target group, funding and your skills — to figure out what you can realistically expect to accomplish.
  • Have a concrete project plan: This involves setting goals and the action steps to achieve them.
  • You should also seek the support of a mentor or peers who can advise you.
CANBODIA workshop with Illyasak Hazan
CANBODIA workshop with Illyasak Hazan