sally hetherington

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Thoughts

Empowerment, Thoughts

Empowerment, what is it really?

Empowerment. Some say it’s a buzz word, but I (and so many others I know) have been using it for almost a decade, so perhaps it’s here to stay.  I have a weird relationship with the word. I used to say ‘I empower people. I empower staff. I empower communities’. And people loved it. It egged me on. It made me feel good. Until one day, someone who was much wiser than myself said to me ‘Sally, you don’t empower people. You create an empowering environment.’ And that stuck with me. It changed  ...

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Cambodia, Thoughts, Voluntourism

What I wish I knew when I was 25

In September 2011, I packed up my bags and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. I was determined to ‘make a difference’. My intentions for moving there were good, but as I soon realised, good intentions aren’t good enough. I can’t change the past, but what I can do is share the lessons I learnt, and what I wish I had known when I was 25, to help others from making the same mistakes. You need to respect the culture I often assumed I was the exception to the rule. That  ...

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Thoughts

Reflecting on our Return to Australia

This morning I was reflecting on my eight months of job hunting when I moved back to Australia in 2017. For the past five years and three months I had been earning anywhere between zero and USD$200 a month. We had spent around $9,000 on a visa to ensure the love of my life could come and life in Australia. I had used up my savings, was receiving no superannuation and relied on the generosity of family and friends who supported my goal of developing a locally-run community centre that helped  ...

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Thoughts

Free ways to stay sane during lockdown

As an introvert (don’t scoff, it’s true) that normally works from home, I know the challenges that people must be facing right now with lockdown. So I have put together a list of free ways that you can stay safe during lockdown! Keep in mind that as a childless woman, these suggestions are made on the assumption that you don’t have kids to entertain 24/7. Don’t hate me because I can nap whenever I want. Read to your hearts content with Scribd – Read magazines,  ...

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Cambodia, Thoughts

Reflections during Endometriosis Awareness Month

Me: “I have my period.” Male colleague: “AGAIN?” Me: “Yes, it comes once a month.” Male colleague: “It feels like you have it every day.” Can I get a holler from my sisters who have endometriosis? It is not easy dealing with all the symptoms. But of course, you know that. It is even harder dealing with it in a country that likes to pretend that periods don’t exist. For five years, I lived in Cambodia, where periods are a taboo topic. Many women don’t know about the purpose of periods, or  ...

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Thoughts

2019 – A year in review

I’ll be honest – I don’t tend to take the time out to reflect on achievements. I suppose many of us don’t, as our lives are usually go, go go. However with such a huge year wrapping up, I decided it was time to put into writing just how far myself and Human and Hope has come over the past year. I set a goal of reading 52 books in 2019, mostly so I would put my computer away in the evenings and try that ‘work/life balance’ thing people talk about.  ...

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Cambodia, Featured, Human and Hope Association, Poverty Tourism, Thoughts, Voluntourism

Treating Children as ‘Team Building’ Activities

One day in February 2016, Human and Hope Association was approached by a tour company in Phnom Penh. They wanted to bring 15 tourists from India to Human and Hope Association to “teach, play with the kids and do something competitive” so that those tourists would have ‘team building’. If we allowed them to do that, they would give us a donation in return. I was absolutely mortified. I had known that this was common practice with some tour companies, however, we had never been approached to  ...

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Australia, Cambodia, Thoughts

Why I don’t mind if the electricity cuts out

This morning the electricity cut out at my home in Sydney. I didn’t realise it at first. I thought that the lightbulb had just blown.  After flicking the switch on and off a few times, I ventured into the bathroom with the light from my iPhone. It was while I was in the bathroom that my boyfriend, having just left the house to head to his community services course, messaged me and told me there was a problem with the electricity. As I walked to my bedroom and tried turning on the  ...

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Cambodia, Developing countries, Development, History, Khmer Rouge, Poverty, Thoughts

Surviving the Khmer Rouge – Rik’s Story

On April 17th, 1975, the Khmer Rouge took hold of Cambodia. They wanted to transform Cambodia into a rural, classless society. They were starting at ‘year zero’. Money, free markets, normal schooling, private property, foreign clothing styles, religious practices, and traditional Khmer culture was abolished. Public schools, pagodas, mosques, churches, universities, shops and government buildings were shut or turned into prisons, stables, reeducation camps and granaries. Over the  ...

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