My education about Australia started when I lived overseas. After 8 years of living in some of the poorest parts of Asia, I returned to Australia to find that there were huge issues here too. With your help, here’s how I’d like to go about addressing them.
It’s been coming on 5 years of hard work from hundreds of volunteers, staff, supporters and advisors, to get a huge unaddressed issue – the lack of speech therapy in Cambodia, on the agenda. But this bit of recognition, from the Australian Government, is a significant stepping stone.
I leave OIC Cambodia in country in a far better state that I could have imagined. With structure, an exit strategy, and most importantly, the best possible people controlling its destiny. Our new leader, Chenda, is not “replacing Weh”. She is entering a new position, has her own style of leadership, and will do things her way. She has my full support from afar, to make decisions her way and guide the organisation in the way that she sees fit.
Before I speak to you about my work in Cambodia, I wanted to tell you a little about how I’ve come to stand before you today. My great grandparents left China during a time of famine, and moved to Malaysia. My parents came to Australia in the 70’s, seeking a better life for their children. At the time, my father had $200 in his pocket.
Three years ago, I founded OIC: The Cambodia Project, an initiative to establish speech therapy as a profession in Cambodia. Starting OIC from nothing has been a huge challenge. And yet, it’s time for me to say goodbye.