For almost four years, Sally Hetherington OAM worked as an Operations Manager for Human Hope Association, one of Cambodia’s ethically driven grassroots organisations which is now sustainable, being solely operated by locals who have overcome poverty themselves.
In 2011, while working in a financial sector job in Sydney, Sally came across statistics that frustrated her like how 1 in 4 Cambodians over the age of 15 are illiterate. Sally bought a one-way ticket with the one mission: to help build the Human Hope Association (HHA) become a social enterprise and be self-sustainable.
Since then, Sally has seen the controversy surrounding foreign-led organisations in poverty-stricken Cambodia and invites the debate on best practice in international development.
To Sally, the mentality of making HHA locally driven and run was more important than to be seen as a hero. And this involved Sally and her team making a bold move: disallowing foreign volunteers.
Having successfully made herself redundant, Sally is now back in Australia, and is CEO of Human and Hope Association Incorporated. She leads a team of volunteers who fundraise for Human and Hope Association and raises awareness of the importance of local empowerment. In 2019, Sally’s manifesto, ‘It’s Not About Me’ was published by Elephant House Press. Sally was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia at age 33.