Giving goodness // Helping Hands Cambodia


This month’s giving goodness donation goes to international charity Helping Hands Cambodia, set up by a wonderfully inspiring Australian woman by the name of Deborah Groves.

I love Deb’s story – a wedding photographer from the Australian state of Queensland, she headed over to Cambodia in Southeast Asia for a holiday circa 2005 and happened upon a man severely ill with tuberculosis. She was struck by his condition, his abject poverty, his impending death from a treatable disease. She knew she had to act. Deb went home, wound up her successful business, packed her bags and returned to Cambodia … with little plans beyond getting to the Phnom Penh airport!

Sadly, the man who had inspired her so much had already passed away. But Deb began working in his village, Prasat Char, a tiny collection of ramshackle huts just a few kilometres from the beautiful Angkor Wat temples, near the city of Siem Reap. It’s astonishing to think the hundreds of tourists who pour over the temples every day remain completely unaware of the abject poverty played out so very nearby.

I had the pleasure of volunteering with Deb in 2007, teaching English in the little school she had set up to give the local children the chance of a better future. It remains on of the best experiences of my life. I have fond memories of drawing with the girls in the shade of a tree, handing out new uniforms to each student with money generously donated to me from back home, and sleeping out the hottest part of the day in a hammock slung by the school window.


Cambodia 3

Deb’s come a long way since then. The Helping Hands Cambodia team now operates a school for more than 300 students, provides breakfast for 100 children five days a week, supports young adults in their university studies, teaches agriculture and provides irrigation systems. That’s a lot of work! So Deb has recently teamed up with Globalteer to help manage her growing charity and ease the administration on her team of volunteers. A wise choice.

You can add to the cause over here if you want. And Helping Hands is on Facebook, too.


4 Responses to Giving goodness // Helping Hands Cambodia

  1. Malinda (@MBPaperPackages) June 2, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    It is always so lovely to hear stories about the good that people are spreading into the world.

    • Koren June 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Too true, Malinda. It’s heart warming to know there’s such wonderful people out there. 🙂

  2. Deborah July 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi Koren, I was just googling “Helping Hands” as I sort out web site issues, etc and found your site! Sooooo lovely to see you doing this and for continuing to support Helping Hands. Thanks a million and all the best to you and your sister.

    • Koren August 1, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Oh, I’m so excited you found us! Congrats on all the amazing progress you have made with Helping Hands – it’s truly inspiring and a testament to your ongoing hard work. I’m still hopeful I’ll get back there one day. In the meantime, I’ll keep the donations coming! xx