A group of students from St Paul’s Catholic College in Manly experienced a holiday with a difference, choosing to build houses in a Cambodian village.

The 23 students from years 10, 11 and 12 raised $1500 each to pay for materials for each house and then went to the Cambodian province of Duong to build them.

The school, like all schools in the Broken Bay Diocese, is committed to social justice initiatives that involve students, teachers and parents, to make their world a better place.

Youth Ministry Co-ordinator Ms Joanne Kalayzich, one of four teachers who accompanied the St Paul’s students, said the Cambodia trip, hosted by aid organisation the Tabitha Foundation, was conceived as an alternative to schoolies week.

“We wanted to build a culture where we were really honouring the 13 years of quality education the boys have received,” she said.

The students spent two days putting walls and roofs on nine houses, which year 12 student William Sim said was the highlight of the 11-day trip.

“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience a different part of the world,” he said of the opportunity.

Ms Kalayzich said the boys learnt vital life lessons during the trip.

“The boys gave Cambodia physical and monetary things, which I’m sure Cambodia appreciated, but what Cambodia gave back to our students, money can’t buy,” she said.