Winthrops swap Auckland life to work in Phnom Penh slums

Nadia Winthrop, 11, volunteers teaching English once a week to kids living in a Phnom Penh slum

Nadia Winthrop, 11, volunteers teaching English once a week to kids living in a Phnom Penh slum

An Auckland family has gone from living a typical suburban lifestyle to running a charity in a slum in South East Asia.

The Winthrop family, from Onehunga, were on holiday in Cambodia in the city of Phnom Penh in 2015.

During their stay they decided to visit a slum to see what life was like for those living in extreme poverty.

The Winthrop family left their New Zealand lives behind to move to Cambodia and work for a charity in the slums.

Walking through the slums made the usually chatty Winthrop kids go silent, mum Nicola Winthrop said.

Read more:* Auckland family moving to Cambodia for charity

"The family saw slum-living kids who collect rubbish or beg instead of attending school," Nicola said.

The visit had a major impact on the family, who decided they had to make a drastic change in their lives to help those living in the slums.

In mid-2016 the family followed through with their plans and left their "comfy life" in Auckland to move to Cambodia.

Nicola and her husband Graeme now run a charity called Flame, along with its founder Sue Hanna.

Flame, which is a New Zealand registered charity, focuses on providing education and leadership development to children living in slums.

The Winthrop children, who attend international schools, have also been helping at the charity.

Nadia Winthrop, 11, volunteers at a Flame Activity Centre.

Once a week Nadia teaches English to local kids. She has also been teaching Christmas carol Jingle Bells to a group at a kid's club that is putting on a Christmas show.

Nicola says living in Cambodia does mean Nadia misses her friends and old trampoline at times.

"Nadia is aware of what she gave up leaving Onehunga to come with her family to a developing country.

"She is happy to be part of the solution for these kids living in poverty," Nicola said.