Waew: Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership Symposium

 In Student Stories

This is the full text of the speech delivered by Sunrise student Waew (Pronounced “Wow”) at the Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership symposium.

Address to Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership symposium

“Hello, ladies and gentlemen.

Today, I am most honoured and pleased that I have opportunity to join this important event.

First, I would like to introduce myself to all of you. My name is Waew and I am 18 years old. This year, I am in grade 11. I have one brother and two sisters. I am the youngest sister in the family.

I will tell you my story and how I got to be here.

Waew: an amazing Sunrise student who gave an address at the Humanitarian Affairs University Scholars Leadership symposium


When I was very young, I was attacked and I was badly burnt. After this, I was sold into a begging ring in Thailand. I worked as beggar for three years in Thailand.

One day the police came and arrested many of us, including me. I was put into jail for one or two months – I can’t remember. After that, they sent me to an organisation in a province of Thailand and I stayed there for one year. I was about 7 years old.

Then I moved to a small charity house in Pattaya in Thailand and stayed there for about two years.

In there, I started school for the first time in my life. Grade 1. I really enjoyed being there and going to school. I made some friends there. Everyone liked my long Khmer hair. Thai girls don’t often have long hair.

When I was 10 years old, I was sent back to Cambodia through the government’s centre in Poipet.

Then I was transferred to Siem Reap where I met mum Geraldine. I travelled by plane! When I arrived at Siem Reap airport I cried so very much. Mum brought me a toy watermelon, which has an insect – a ladybird – inside, which I still keep. My first toy.

From that time, my life has changed in a positive way. Sunrise have offered me very much support including warm care from my house mother, basic needs such as food, clothes, shelter, medical care, consulting, and especially educational opportunity as follows:

I get Khmer general education at Sovannaphumi School nearby Sunrise, English training course at Australia Center for Education, dancing training, music training, moral education and other great opportunities.

While living in Sunrise, studying is the most important duty for me. And as the result of this support, it helps me achieve a lot of things. I am always an outstanding student in my classes – Khmer general educational class and English class. In 2013, I won a scholarship to study in Australia for one month and this result makes me feel proud of myself and Sunrise.

I (would like) to thank Sunrise Children’s Villages, that they always pay very good attention to me and especially to (the) Prime Minister of Cambodia for helping us so much.

I also want to thank Mum Geraldine, staff of Sunrise, friends, teachers, visitors and sponsors. Finally, I wish all of you more happiness, prosperity, and success for ever and ever. Thank you!

– End of speech at

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