COMPELLED TO CONTINUE
I am sometimes asked what compels me to continue in this work. My answer is simple – the people.
The children who we have not managed to help yet. The tragic stories I hear too late for us to intervene.
But it is also the magic of seeing an opportunity opening. A child’s eyes brightening. Bringing happiness and hope. Hearing laughter and witnessing the transformative power of education. Feeling we can make a lasting change from so far away. Delivering a pathway out of poverty and seeing the evidence of positive incremental changes.
I know there are many more schools and children that need help and I cannot stop until we can support them. I need to make sure that I do everything I can to help them.
As a Trust, we have grand visions and the heart to achieve them.
I think of the enthusiasm of the teachers, the engaged faces of the school children, the community working with us and I know we are only just beginning.
FINDING MY PATH
My vision crystallised around education as the way forward for rural Cambodia.
It made sense to me that education was a key to breaking the poverty cycle. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reinforced that and had the research to back it up. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, had given some hugely powerful speeches about the importance of education and the fact that it was a basic human right.
He said “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” Such a powerful statement and one which resonates with me.
Through education I could help rebuild the country from the bottom up, investing honest, good money into rebuilding lives.
Education would give children and their parents choices about how they could earn and income. It would empower them with knowledge to be able to recognise a sex trafficker and avoid falling into the traps they set. But it is much more than that. This is not just about trafficking. Trafficking is not all that motivates me. It is seeing the light in children’s eyes. Seeing opportunities created where they weren’t before. It is about human rights, development, economic empowerment and breaking the poverty trap. Education is a powerful force which touches on each of these.
From the start I realised this was going to be a long-term project for me. I was where I needed to be. I had found my task.