Sorn (second from left) and her support team: Rotary’s Monica Webb
(left) and teachers/hosts Michelle Parkinson and Julia Tod. Photo /
A Cambodian girl who grew up in an orphanage supported by a New
Zealand school is now spending a year at the college that helped give
her a home. Cambodian girl gets stuck into study under watchful eyes of three Kiwi stand-in ‘mums’.
Sreychom Sorn, an 18-year-old orphan from Phnom Penh,
has left her sisters and flown halfway across the world to attend
Rangitoto College, New Zealand’s largest secondary school.
the past decade, the North Shore college has sent teams of student
volunteers to Cambodia where they have painted buildings, delivered
health packs, games and books and entertained children at the New Future
For Children Orphanage.
Now the project has gone a step further.
Rotary members in Cambodia and New Zealand are financially supporting
Sorn to live in New Zealand for a year and enrol as a Year 12 pupil at
She will live in three different homes to experience
a range of family life. Her first home is with Rangitoto College
teacher Julia Tod.
“She not only lives with me but has to be in my classes twice a day.”
For Sorn, who has always had to share a room and clothes, life in New Zealand has proven to be a huge eye-opener.
“In Cambodia, we usually ride bicycles to school, but here I always travel in the car and in buses. I miss cycling,” she said.
who is taking tourism at level 2 and 3 this year, hopes to work in the
hotel industry when she returns to Cambodia in December.
She is also taking the opportunity to learn photography and computer studies at the college.
the diminutive pupil has hiked across Tongariro Crossing, climbed Mt
Ruapehu, sailed on round-the-world yacht Steinlager 2 and gone
Those behind the trailblazing project say Sorn is making the most of her opportunity.