Awareness Cambodia is a not-for-profit overseas aid organisation working in partnership with communities to directly assist some of the poorest and most underprivileged in Cambodia.
With the generous support of many around the world, Awareness Cambodia raises awareness and funds for programs hosted by Awareness Cambodia International (our team on-site). These health, education and childhood development programs are designed to help educate and equip up-and-coming generations so they can live healthy and fulfilling lives.
These programs – targeted at the poorest Cambodian province of Kompong Speu – equip future generations with skills and knowledge while also catering to their on-going needs. Awareness Cambodia’s holistic approach to ending the slavery that poverty brings, is seeing a growing number of orphaned children taking up university degrees in fields such as civil engineering, design, architecture, accountancy, English literature, business and economics.
Established by Perth dentist Dr Gary Hewett OAM, Awareness Cambodia came about in response to the incredible suffering of the Cambodian people after the genocide carried out under the directive of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.
In 1995 Gary spent seven days travelling along the Mekong River volunteering his dentistry skills. “I’ll never forget seeing a mother sitting on a rubbish tip under a dirty piece of tarpaulin with a baby at her breast. I could see her pain and fear and sense her hopelessness. While my family was safe at home, warm and well fed, this was the world a woman’s child was born into and probably the one in which her child would die. I wondered how any person could look into the eyes of that child, living in such poverty, and not be moved by the injustice of their situation. But in a moment, it felt that question re-directed towards me. What really matters? How could I return to my comfortable existence and pretend this doesn’t exist? This wasn’t TV, I couldn’t turn the channel; I simply couldn’t walk away and do nothing.”
We see Cambodian culture as an irreplaceable national treasure, and we make every effort to ensure that it is preserved. It is not our policy to ‘Westernise’ Cambodian children, relocate them to other parts of the world or subject them to the indignity and dependency of overseas hand-outs.
Awareness Cambodia’s unique approach embraces education and health as a means of indigenous empowerment. Our team is dedicated to providing sustainable long-term programs which are designed to break the cycles of poverty, abuse, illiteracy and neglect in order to create a ‘better future’ with a sense of hope and opportunity.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that ordinary people like us can make a difference. In the words of the American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Why not join us in building a better, brighter future for the children of Cambodia.