October had me in Canberra for some fundraising events as well as a lecture at the Gender Institute at the Australian National University. I was also able to attend the monthly lunch for old Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade colleagues that I have not seen for many years. Lots of things to talk about as you can imagine!
Then off on a very long 15 hour flight to the United Arab Emirates for a fundraising event arranged by the Australian Business Group and 2 meetings with the wives of prominent Sheiks in the Royal Family, which were arranged through the Australian High Commissioner, H.E. Pablo Kang. The meetings with these very powerful ladies will hopefully bear fruit when they will look at making donations in March. Fingers crossed. Both these women impressed me with the work they are doing for disadvantaged people worldwide. Let’s just hope that Sunrise will be on their list for the future.
I flew to Muscat, Oman, for a quick one day stay with friend and sponsor Leah Clayton, who gives a lot of her profit to Sunrise from her yoga classes there. So I was able to swim in the Gulf of Oman and cross this off my bucket list. Deep thanks goes to Ivor Prestwood, the Manager of the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi where he always gives me free accommodation.
Another gruelling 15 hour flight back to Adelaide to spend time with my 8 Sunrise students there. I spent one on one time with them to talk about their lives and how they are going with their studies and personal lives in general. It is important to them and to me to keep up the mother/daughter/son relationship with them. They are all excelling in their studies and making us proud.
I bought a new computer to replace my 3 year old one and after a few days was close to throwing it out the window until the technical support team at MGA Whittles, Adelaide, helped me sort all the problems on the updated computer. Thanks, boys. I grabbed some time with my two sisters, nieces and friends while in Adelaide. Important to keep these ties alive with me being away from Australia so much.
The end of the month culminated in a bang with the Roaring Twenties Spring Ball at the Sofitel in Sydney hosted by the Macquarie Group who have been sponsoring us for all of 2013 and from their efforts over 3 events throughout the year there is enough money to build the Macquarie Group Education Centre at Sunrise One where we will move the computer school, have another English classroom, an E-Library for the older students and a workshop area for us to hold regular workshops internally. My thanks to all at Macquarie for the mammoth efforts they put into getting this program off the ground.
November was spent with a lot of the time in Siem Reap with sponsors and bonding with the children. I need to make these regular trips to increase my understanding of the projects and the children there, as I do not see as much of them as I do the ones where I live in Sunrise Kandal.
Then back to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth for fundraising events. During this reporting period with the help of Simone Heydon, a public relations expert, I gave 15 radio, newspaper and magazine interviews and appeared on the Project in Melbourne, the 7.30 Report in Perth and Channel 7 News in Adelaide. These shows, some of them national, result in raising the profile of Sunrise and inspiring more people to be regular sponsors. Thanks, Simone.
December had me in Sydney where I spoke at the Taiwanese Mandarin Language School and the Tzu Chi Buddhist Centre, where the local members were very generous. I hope to keep this relationship strong and running with more events in 2014. Warm thanks to Donny Chien, who set all this up for us.
At the end of all this I was just about on my hands and knees from travelling and doing presentations, so went with friends on a wonderful 10 day holiday in Burma. I can recommend this country to anyone who wants a trip back in time in a peaceful atmosphere with few mod cons to distract from the marvellous cities: Rangoon, Pagan, Mandalay and Lake Inlay.