Cambodian Sophy Ron, who is 21 years old, grew up working seven days a week collecting rubbish in Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey waste dump to support her family, before receiving a scholarship to attend Trinity College’s Foundation Studies in Melbourne.
“All I knew was to compete to earn more so my father could be proud of me”
“Coming here has been absolutely life-changing for me,” Ron said at her graduation from Trinity College.
“Ten years ago, I was a little, clueless girl who helped support her family by picking up rubbish on a filthy garbage dump for money every day.”
Living in a small hut with her eight family members, Ron didn’t receive the chance to attend school until she was 11 years old.
“I never knew what school was like, never knew what English is. I never knew that school could be so beautiful,” she said.
“All I knew was to compete with my bigger sister to earn more so my father could be proud of me.”
After receiving assistance from the Cambodian Children’s Fund, Ron became the inaugural Trinity College scholarship recipient and is now preparing to begin her Bachelor of Arts studies at the University of Melbourne in July.
“Trinity brought me here under a scholarship and made me the person I am today,” Ron said.
“If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to speak English, live in the real world, experience real things, make friends and be confident. I would be back in my country, either getting married or dying of a disease.”
After completing her studies, Ron said she wanted to return home to Cambodia, where she plans to start her own business and contribute back to the CCF after it helped her to study in Australia.