A Cambodian woman formerly living in a garbage dump graduated as a valedictorian in an Australian college.
Sophy Ron grew up in the Stung Meanchey garbage dump in a province of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She worked as a “rubbish picker,” finding items to recycle for money and scavenging food to eat. She works from dusk until dawn to help support her family.
This young lady has a story that most couldn’t fathom. Sophy’s entire family lived in a small hut just around the dumpster area. That is eight people crammed in a tiny room. Her parents worked at a nearby rubber plantation, however, their salary hardly cover the cost of their daily necessities. Sophy never had a chance to attend school.
“I slept under the rain because I saw my parents do it and I thought, if they’re okay with it, I’m okay with it too,” she says.
Cambodian Children’s Fund
When she was 11-years-old, something happened that changed her life. The Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) helped her out of the garbage dump and got her in school. With Sophy’s talent as a communicator and entrepreneur, she soon secured a scholarship at the Trinity College in Australia.
The scholarship was an all-inclusive scholarship that valued approximately $300,000. Sophy was also given the opportunity to live at Trinity’s Residential College.
“I can’t describe how I felt when I found out I got the scholarship,” Sophy said. “I just couldn’t stop smiling and I felt like my life was going to change.”
With her determined heart, Sophy graduated as the Valedictorian and received her Bachelor of Arts last June 2019. Additionally, she was granted another scholarship at the University of Melbourne.
When talking about having her own room at Trinity College, she compares it with her home back in the garbage dump.
‘I’ve never had the chance to live like this,’ she said. ‘When I was at the dump, I lived in a small room, crammed in with the rest of my family, and it wasn’t even a proper building. It’s so nice to have a room on my own, while also being surrounded by such friendly people.’
Reference: The Campfire Thoughts