January kicked off with a wedding between Sopheap, our Head House Parent Supervisor and Nikolas, a taxi driver who has been bringing visitors to us since 2000! Their relationship grew over the years and everyone who attended the wedding had no doubt about how happy their lives are going to be.
I visited Sunrise Sihanoukville with Tha, a friend and Reuters cameraman, to shoot a short film that Computershare want to use to send to all their staff. The children loved being on film! I visited many of our older students in the workforce to see how they are faring and also many of our students in both Outreach houses – one for those over 18 until they pass Grade 12 and the other in town for high school graduates who are now attending university or vocational training courses.
The much-loved and popular Louch Tong Eang, returned from Adelaide with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and is active in trying to break into the media industry in Cambodia. We all wish him luck as it is not easy to break into such a field.
In February I spent time with the Adelaide-born Manager of the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, Pieter Van der Hoeven, which will grow over the years he will be in Cambodia. I then flew to Adelaide to prepare for our very successful Valentine’s Day, “Share the Love” event. A tremendous effort was made by many volunteers to make the evening such a success.
Kudos goes to Ray Martin, Beccy Cole and Ding Productions and all those who donated their time and talent to Sunrise for the evening.
I drove to the Yorke Peninsula to speak at a Rotary Club dinner and was able to spend a few days with close friends in the area.
I returned to the children later in the month in time for another staff wedding, that of Vichet, our Education Manager. Many of the children attended and there was much excitement. The end of the month had me going to the dentist 3 times for much needed attention.
March was a busy time with house guests and Sunrise team meetings and much fun was had by all when we had a “staff against the kids” soccer match. I was interviewed by a journalist from the Christian Science Monitor and the Jerusalem Times and hope they generate some people to sponsor our children.
I had too short a time with the children as I had to fly back to Adelaide for a Board Meeting, but was able to spend time with family and friends, as well as quality time with our Sunrise students at college and university there.
I made two presentations to staff at Bendigo Bank and have had some positive feedback. Another Prescott Investments presentation was attended by powerful women in business in South Australia. Then on to Sydney for a special event: the graduation of Ban Seyha, from the Southern Cross University, where he received a Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management. I was a very proud Mum!
Friends took me to Bowral outside Sydney where I had a very enjoyable and fruitful meeting with Michael Yabsley, a previous fundraiser for the Australian government who shared with me some useful fundraising tips and possibilities. Let’s hope they pay off! Warm thanks to you, Michael.
Next stop Melbourne, for an art exhibition by Abbas Mehran, our friend and artist, who visited Sunrise twice and has done superb portraits of many of the children which will be for sale, with Sunrise receiving a substantial amount of the proceeds.
I enjoyed a radio interview with the popular Richard Stubbs from the ABC in Melbourne. At the end of the month I met with Barbara Dunn from Computershare to talk about Sunrise Sihanoukville and I had another opportunity to thank Computershare for all they are doing for us.
The deepest of thanks to all our sponsors, old and new, who give generously to Sunrise and give love and hope to all our children.