"The Children of Cambodia Foundation provides educational opportunities and support for primary school children in Cambodia".
Through fundraising and generous donations since 2010 when the foundation was established, we have been able to provide ongoing support for many primary students in the Province of Siem Reap.
My name is Meredith Liddle. I am a Director of the Children of Cambodia Foundation.
Our journey began in August 2009 when my husband Gary and I visited Cambodia on a holiday. Our tour guide Bunrith was great at introducing us to Angkor Wat and its surrounds but his passion for his people soon became apparent, particularly their education and the overwhelming illiteracy problem. It was from here we decided early in 2010 to establish our Children of Cambodia Foundation.
In March 2010 I returned to Siem Reap and Bunrith took me to the village of Phum O where I met the principal of the local primary school. The discussions about the 630 students and what we could do for them were long and varied, but eventually the need for exercise books, stationery, uniforms and a fresh water well to be dug in the grounds became the priorities.
In October 2010, after we had done some fundraising, Pam Shanks, a co-director, and I returned to the school and we were able to watch the well being dug. We also went to the peoples’ market with Bunrith and bought 300 uniforms and 650 exercise books and pens/pencils so every student received a book, pen or pencil. Pam also bought 10 bicycles which were given to the children most in need. The children were given the uniforms and books on the Friday and on the Monday when we went back to the school to see how the well was coming along we were met by a very happy principal. He told Bunrith that 25 new children had come to the school asking if they could attend. This was exciting as the principal had never seen these children at the school before.
We have achieved our initial plan to provide uniforms, stationery, library books and bicycles. We have now also provided new classrooms, paved areas at several schools to enable dry access to classrooms during the wet season, put water filters into classrooms, re-rooofed a classroom and provided library books. We will need to look at further building repairs and plan to provide toilets where needed.
We are now supporting ten schools in two communes 60 kms south of Siem Reap, which involves approximately 3,000 students.
We are only a small foundation and our ongoing aim is to help children complete a primary school education. All donations go directly towards supporting the children.
The long term joy for us will be when the principal tells us that more children have approached the school looking for an education. The ultimate is to hear of students who want to go on to secondary and even tertiary education. Finding a way to help achieve these last two steps will be a future challenge for the foundation.
Children of Cambodia Board of Directors:
Meredith Liddle Gary Liddle Pam Shanks Geoff Shanks Rebecca Liddle
Emma Saddington Doug Thompson
Charity Registration No: A0054153U ABN: 15 096 096 154
Children of Cambodia Foundation is registered with the Australian Charities and
Our Board Members
Gary Liddle AO
Gary along with his wife Meredith is one of the two founders of the Children of Cambodia Foundation. He is a former Chief Executive of VicRoads and has worked in other senior roles in Victorian Government agencies. He is a qualified engineer, Chairman of the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) and is the Enterprise Professor, Transport at the University of Melbourne. He has significant international experience both professionally and as a tourist including in Cambodia. His interests include cycling, surfing and music.
Meredith is one of the two founders of the foundation. She is a qualified draftsperson with significant experience at VicRoads and Thomson Perrett Golf Course Architects. Her interests include crafts, musical theatre and movies. Meredith has volunteering experience with Camcare, a community service agency associated with the City of Boroondara in Melbourne.
Doug is a former Chief Financial Officer of VicRoads and is a member of CPA Australia. He has significant volunteering experience with Scouts Australia. His interests include gardening and music.
Emma attended Korowa Anglican Girls School in Melbourne and is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Emergency and Trauma within Alfred health. Holding Masters qualifications in Nursing (Emergency Care), Public Health and Health Administration. Emma has travelled and worked in South East Asia, including in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. Emma has an interest in the education and development of children, particularly within Cambodia. Emma’s other interests include snow-boarding and home renovating.
Bec attended Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne and is a midwife at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. She has travelled in south East Asia including Cambodia and like all of the Board members has a strong interest in assisting the children of that wonderful country. Bec’s other interests include snow-boarding, surfing and long walks along the beach.
Geoff is a former General Manager with VicRoads and presently runs his own consulting business. He has post-graduate qualifications in Education. Geoff has travelled and worked extensively in developing countries throughout Asia, South America, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He has had volunteering experience with The Smith Family and Vision Australia. His interests include cycling, theatre and being a member of a leading Melbourne choir.
Following a career in Commercial Real Estate Pam went on to work in the Middle East as well as teaching English through the Smith Family programs and volunteering at the Salvos Stores. She enjoys travelling, walking her dog Peggy to the local coffee shops, spending time with her grandson and sewing and knitting - if time permits. Visiting Cambodia and the schools we support is always an amazing experience for her.