Not only is it International Womens Day, today is also the 10th birthday of our program partner, Human and Hope Association Cambodia (HHA Cambodia).
HHA Cambodia was founded in March 2011 when a group of villagers saw an absence of education in their commune. They knew that education was the key to alleviating poverty in Cambodia, as many hadn’t received the opportunity to be educated themselves.
This group of locals decided to teach English to community members at a pagoda for a small fee of USD$0.50 – USD$1.00 per student each month in order to cover their costs. Over the next 18 months, the volunteer team recruited students through word of mouth, posting announcements at the local public schools and gaining the support of the monks who preached to the community.
In October 2012, I was living in Siem Reap, was introduced to the team, saw how motivated the Khmer volunteers were and started working as Operations Manager. My goal was to initiate new projects, support the team with new skills, provide them with an environment that would result in their empowerment and ensure a sustainable future for the organisation.
In 2014, it was decided that for the sustainability of the organisation and the safety of the community, HHA Cambodia needed to move. In a matter of months, Human and Hope fundraised USD$20,000 through generous Australian donors and HHA Cambodia built their own community centres, four km away from their location at the time.
On six July 2016, confident in the organisation and the team, I successfully made myself redundant. That day, HHA Cambodia became entirely locally-operated, which they remain to this day.
We are immensely proud to financially support HHA Cambodia, as we are strong believers in their local approach to development. Locals are the experts, they know the community and culture, can provide consistency and are there for the long-term.
Our annual event, the Walk to Cambodia helps keep this vital work happening
I encourage you to register as a participant in the #WalkToCambodia2021 so we can continue to play a role in breaking the intergenerational poverty cycle and supporting HHA Cambodia.
Sally Hetherington OAM
CEO, Human & Hope