CEO of Human & Hope Association, Sally Hetherington wrote this compelling manifesto to educate readers on the Cambodian community and the impacts voluntourism.
Sally Hetherington was only 25 years old when she packed up and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia with a plan to make a difference.
When she arrived, the community life was in critical need of help and Sally’s role managing short-term volunteers was important for sustainable development. Since her time in Cambodia and what she learnt on her journey, Sally has written her manifesto ‘It’s Not About Me” to educate anyone looking to volunteer in any low-income country.
“I wrote this book for people to think carefully about how they help people in low and middle-income countries. Being a voluntourist can cause irreversible harm to a community, and we need to realise that volunteering in that country isn’t necessarily an effective way to help that community develop. I am not telling people not to help; I instead want them to put aside their preconceived beliefs about some help being better than no help – because that simply isn’t true” said the Author of It’s Not About Me, Sally Hetherington.
Sally’s book, or manifesto, has five years of stories that will make you laugh, cry and challenge your preconceived beliefs about the best way to help people in developing countries. It is a must-read for those who want to make a positive change through ethical and sustainable development.
“When I first came to Cambodia to help the community, all I saw was disempowered staff, children with attachment issues and an unhealthy ‘white saviour’ syndrome. It was here I realised that for organisations – in low and low-middle income countries – to be sustainable, they needed to be run by locals. And for locals to run organisations, they needed to be empowered,” said Sally.
After some time learning about the local culture, Sally then used her time in Cambodia to develop a community centre with a team of Cambodians, with a goal of making herself redundant. This was the formation of Human & Hope Association.
“Sticking to my belief of local empowerment in a country filled with voluntourists was tough. Despite the countless obstacles I faced living in a community with a culture significantly different to mine, I was able to form insurmountable relationships and learn first-hand of the struggles of poverty faced by community members in the outskirts of rural Siem Reap,” continued Sally.
The Book “It’s Not About Me” is set to be released on Friday, May 31. Pre-orders are now available here, with all proceeds donated to Human & Hope Association Inc.