At 11 years old, Sophy Ron was forced to work at a waste dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in order to support her family.

She grew up surviving on eating discarded food that she managed to scavenge for among the garbage.

 The Cambodian Children’s Fund  (CFF),   a nonprofit committed to transforming the country’s “most impoverished kids into tomorrow’s leaders”, rescued her as a child.

With the help of  CFF ,  Ron managed to study at Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, where she graduated as valedictorian last month.


Ron, who once spent every day of her life “knee-deep picking through noxious trash,” stood in front of her fellow graduates and delivered a closing speech in English.

I was very excited but very nervous,” she said after the event, according to CCF. “The event went very smooth. It was awesome.”

In recognition of her inspiring success story, Ron received a full scholarship to begin her undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne.

She is currently back in Cambodia for the term break, celebrating her success with loved ones.

Sophy is now back in Cambodia for her term break, celebrating with her family and friends.


Image from Cambodian Children's Fund
Image from Cambodian Children's Fund