21, full of dreams and with a big future ahead of her – Saran’s story has only just begun and already it’s extraordinary. Saran won Project Gen Z’s ‘Apprentice Challenge’ at Sunrise in 2016 and is currently undertaking a traineeship across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide as part of her prize. This is her story:
Hello! My name is Saran. I’m 21 years old. I left Sunrise when I was 18 years old with my life and future changed. Sunrise taught me how to make my life better. They gave me everything, especially an education. I never went to school before Sunrise, now I’m in year three of university.
I have so many friends at Sunrise – my very first friend was Sunny, the Sunrise dog – the house mothers looked after me so well and a grew to love the traditional dance that I learnt at Sunrise – I can still dance some of it! I’ve left Sunrise, but still my favourite thing to do is go to Mum’s house on the weekend to cook with her, watch tv and just talk.
I live in Phnom Penh with my brother, Sophal, and my best friend Waew. They grew up with me at Sunrise. I study International Relations at university and I want to work in an embassy when I grow up, just like Mum. I work part time as well as study, in customer service. It’s a good experience and I like the job.
I became involved with Project Gen Z when they came to Sunrise last year. They let people from 15 to 25 join their apprentice challenge so I joined up. The challenge was to split into 5 groups and develop a ‘company’. With a budget of $100 we had to make our own brand and sell products – the highest earners won. My team didn’t win, my brother Sophal’s did. But they had one more individual challenge that they didn’t tell us about and I won! When they told me, I was eating my lunch and I heard Andrew Morello call my name.
I asked my friends, “What’s happening?”. They told me, “Saran, you won the challenge – you’re going to Australia!” I was so surprised, I cried. I won a scholarship to come to Australia for three weeks. It’s awesome.
I flew to Australia on February 6. I feel like I have a home here. Families, brothers, sisters. Because of this, I’m not afraid of anything. I’m learning so much with everyone I work with. I’ve met business people, speakers, journalists – everyone. It’s amazing for me to be here and learn, maybe one day I’ll come back and work in Australia.
Last but not least, I want to say thank you so much to my wonderful Mum Geraldine. She is always by my side and provides me with everything. I can’t describe how much I love her. She’s my everything. Moreover, thank you so much to the Project Gen Z team who gave me the amazing opportunity for me to come and learn in Australia. I love it here.
Love to you all!