Hidden Gems is all about the stories that surround us and enrich our lives.
One such story is that of Scott Neeson who left behind a prestigious career in the film industry to set up Cambodian Children’s Fund back in 2004. I first heard Scott’s compelling story when he came to visit my children’s school in Hong Kong. For most of us, the idea of giving up the comfort and security of our lives in pursuit of a goal so fraught with the danger and challenges of the unknown is too hard to contemplate. But to do something small and achievable in the face of such selflessness is within the grasp of us all. As a former teacher, the work Scott is doing on the ground really in the community really resonated. CCF is working to create environments that to encourage learning and help children to fulfil not only their dreams but their true potential.
With my daughter Hana fully engaged in the project, we chose to sponsor a little girl about the same age and made our first trip to Phnom Penh in September 2015.
It was there that we came to fully understand the true impact that CCF is having not only on the lives of the children we sponsor, but also on the community around the Steung Menuchay dump as a whole. Thanks in large part to the vision and determination of one man but also to the now hundreds of dedicated staff and supporters he has rallied there is a sense of optimism. The hopelessness of the situation Scott encountered back in 2004 is being replaced by the positive outcomes and optimism provided by access to an education.
Work has started on building
We now sponsor both Nati and her younger brother Phearong
It’s a rich and rewarding relationship that has changed our lives as we get to hear about their proud moments of success in class, share skype messages and songs on all of our birthdays.
Hana describes Nati as her ‘soulmate’ and has a much greater understanding of the word ‘inequality’ than many ten-year olds are able to contemplate. I hope that this alone will fuel her to continue to address the indignities of poverty suffered by so many people in the world today.
‘Jewel Purpose’ is my way of incorporating philanthropy into my business. Using jewellery as a way to raise not only funds, but also awareness of some of the amazing work being done by charities and NGOs all over the world. To that end, we designed this bracelet to help raise funds for CCF. The design is an Iris Flower which is a symbol of hope.
It’s set on red silk cord as red is the colour in Cambodia that represents the people. Donating time and design skills as well as 100% of the proceeds is our small contribution to making the world a better place.