I recently returned from another interesting and highly productive trip to SE Asia.
This trip was a little different because I was traveling with Scott Friedman, Jana Stanfield, and a very talented “Together We Can Change The World” (TWCCTW) group of 10 people, including Rhonda Faught, Maria Kassova, Lynn Leahy, Jonathan Low, Rebecca Morgan, Robert Stack, and Carol Talbot. This is a great group of professionals in clear alignment with our SE Asia Children’s Foundation goals and our approach to educating children.
We began this trip in Singapore by attending the Asia Speakers Association annual meeting followed by the Asia HR Summit – with 3,500 attendees and a large vendor Expo hall. We even had a booth for our TWCCTW fund. Taking into account the travel participant contributions, the money we raised at the meetings, and a wonderful Technology Grant from the National Speakers Association (thanks to Scott for the connection and to Jana for writing the grant) we raised approximately $20,000 to be used to further our cause of educating at-risk children and breaking their cycle of poverty.
From Singapore our group traveled north to Chiang Rai. That evening we were joined by Treasure Shine (Thailand Project Manager for our good friends at Partners Asia. Here we are ready to depart from our Chiang Rai Guest House.
The next day we visited two of my SE Asia Children’s Foundation projects. First we stopped in at the Good Shepherd Sisters Girls Home. There we were greeted by all 50+ girls, the staff, and many of the Akha parents from the neighboring villages. We had a great time. We ate together. We danced. We sang songs. We laughed. We made friends. We helped. We made a difference.
Imagine – a city of 2 million people abandoned to the jungle for centuries – and now undergoing extensive preservation and reconstruction. Nice to see that happening. Look at this picture. Is the tree holding up the wall — or is the wall holding up the tree. There are lots of places like this throughout Angkor City.
In Cambodia we visited three schools, orphanages, and child-care facilities.
There is much more for us to do in Siem Reap. (I doubt that we’ll venture to Phnom Penh very soon.) We now have three candidates for support, one of which we’ve already made a clear commitment to. In addition we’ve got an opportunity to work with the Governor’s wife and somehow assist her with her Red Cross responsibilities, along with another couple of child care facilities to visit. I’ll be back there for four busy days in early July.
With a closing dinner at the Soria Moria hotel dining room our TWCCTW 2013 Tour officially ended and the group headed off in their separate ways the next morning. I flew back to Bangkok and then on to Pattaya for an all-day session with the Good Shepherd Sisters and their Fountain of Life Women’s and Children’s centers. After another day back in Bangkok for meetings with the local representative of Splash www.splash.org a Seattle based non-profit providing clean water to children in the developing world, it was time to head to the airport and wend my way back home.
All-in-all this was a very full, productive trip. We raised over $20,000 for the cause, directly supported organizations serving hundreds of kids, identified at least three new homes to support, built strong, trusting relationships, and carried a lot of friendship and fun to the kids we visited. I’ll be back in June and July to follow up on this and carry on with our ambitious projects.
Life is good … at least for some of us it is. Others need a bit of help … which we can provide.