Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - University dorm for orphans

University dorm for orphans

People explore the newly opened Graduation House in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district
People explore the newly opened Graduation House in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district yesterday. The facility will provide support and accomodation for orphaned tertiary students. Vireak Mai

University dorm for orphans

Ol Sok Hour, a keen and promising student, had his life turned upside down two years ago when his parents died of AIDS.

With no family to support him and little money to survive, Sok Hour, then 20 years old, was forced to drop out of university and forget his dream of becoming an architect.

“I was desperate to continue studying at university, but it was hopeless,” he said.

Nineteen-year-old Chea Nita lost her parents during high school and struggled to get the grades for university.

“I am an orphan; I am so poor,” she said. “I passed my exams last year, but I could not afford to continue studying.”

In need of income, Nita was forced to return to Kampong Cham province and swap academia for farming.

Like Sok Hour and Nita, young people across Cambodia are unable to pursue university or vocational courses. But their aspirations were revived this year when Awareness Cambodia stepped in and offered vital support.

Yesterday, the NGO celebrated the launch of its Graduation House, a facility that will offer accommodation and support for orphaned tertiary students. The four-storey building, located in the capital’s Meanchey district, will eventually house 80 students, including Sok Hour and Nita.

“Freedom without a future is just another form of slavery,” Awareness Cambodia’s founder and CEO Dr Gary Hewitt was quoted as saying.

At the facility’s launch yesterday morning, Nim Thoth, secretary of state of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation, explained the importance of the project.

“Mostly in Cambodia we have orphanages for children, but not for older youths,” he said. “We are pleased to see that our orphaned youths are being given the chance to study.”

For Sok Hour and Nita – who are now attending university and being provided with money for their education, shelter and food – the intervention has been life-changing.

“I want to study hard . . . I’m very, very thankful,” Sok Hour said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with