Today, after five years, three months and five days of living in Cambodia, I am leaving.
During my time in Siem Reap, I have faced an incredible amount of challenges, and have almost given up numerous times. However, I didn’t. Because with every challenge has come an opportunity, and I am so proud of myself for my commitment to developing a grassroots NGO that is now entirely run by Cambodians.
I spent the past three weeks back at Human and Hope Association, running workshops and refresher training, taking photos and composing videos with the Director as part of the final transition to local management. I am very impressed with how the team continues to thrive, and am confident that they will continue to empower their community once I am gone.
Although I am excited to get back to Australia, a country where I don’t have to worry about boiling my drinking water, a country that has a constant and reliable source of electricity, a country where I know I am in safe hands if I fall ill; I will miss Cambodia. I will miss the shining stars I have met, those who want to see change in their community and do something about it. I will miss the women that Human and Hope Association has empowered to be confident, independent women who are saying no to stereotypes. And I will miss the opportunities I was presented with to develop myself whilst having a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of Cambodians.
However, as I have always said, my time in Cambodia at Human and Hope Association wasn’t about me. It was about giving the team the knowledge and confidence so that they could move out of poverty and empower others to do so. It was about creating lasting change that will impact a community for generations to come. It was about showing the world that Cambodians DO have the ability to run their own NGO’s effectively, which is exactly what they are doing.
Please, help me celebrate my move back to Australia by signing up to become a Language Champion. For just $10 a month, you will sponsor a Cambodian child in the English and Khmer language program at Human and Hope Association, giving them the opportunity to learn from Khmer role models and improve their lives.