Lessons from Cambodia

Mariane is currently visiting Sunrise Cambodia, as a volunteer Entrepreneurs Leadership Coach and Workshop Facilitator with Project Gen Z, an organisation who runs entrepreneurial ‘Dare to Dream’ workshops around the world to disadvantaged youth.

Below, she shares the symbiosis of the trip – not only a chance to give to the the community but to learn.

When opportunity knocks, there’s no time for fear. Sitting on a rock underneath the abundance of green from the ficus tree overhead, our guide, Chhoure, shared his wisdoms in our spontaneous outdoor classroom. My travel friend, Julia, and I soaked up ever word. He shared wisdoms of the Anger Was, history of his people, and ideas on what needs to happen for long term, systemic change in his country of Cambodia. “Tour Guide” might have been his formal title, but teacher and community activist would best suit his self-made job description.

When asked of his education pursuits, Chhoure shook his head as he recalled the first time he sent an email from a computer. Wanting to contact a professor on the other side of the world for a university opportunity he’d learned of, Chhoure rode his bike into town to access the closest shared computer and waiting in line for over an our for his ten minute time allotment. As it got closer to his turn, waves of fear and doubt swept over him. What if he didn’t know how to send it? What if he blew his chance and sent out to the wrong person? He self-soothed, reminding himself this was one of many opportunities that lay ahead of him, if he chose. When opportunity knocks there’s no time for fear, he reminded himself.

Today, Chhoure chooses to live in a quiet village outside of the main town of Siem Reap. He prefers it there, as he can provide more for his family with the small amount of money he makes. His lifestyle is a conscious chose. As one out of only 110 students that completed high school in Siem Reap that year, Chhoure went on to receive a scholarship for a university degree. But his purpose lies within connecting with everyday people. He believes change happens at the community level, by first connecting with others and understanding their viewpoint, then co-creating solutions that respect differences and celebrate common beliefs and values. It was a true privilege to sit and listen to his story, and a timely reminder that when it comes to purpose driven opportunities, there’s no time for fear. Just connection, courage and compassion.

We’re on a new mission to support Chhoure in providing quality education opportunities to the children of his town. If you’re keen to jump on board this mission, please contact us to see how you may be able to help out.

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Jenna O'Connell

Jenna is a teacher and careers counsellor, with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama & Performance), Bachelor of Education (K-12), and Graduate Certificate in Education Studies (Careers & Transitions).

Jenna is in her element when she is helping people and organisations discover their unique magic, and working with them in sharing this magic with the world to drive positive change. Her background sees an amalgam of over 15 years across corporate and education sectors, with extensive experience in curriculum development, coaching, facilitation, and mentorship.

Jenna contributes to various local youth projects and initiatives. Throughout 2017-2018, she mentored local youth in their project, Cards For Change, who went on to win a $2000 Pitch Project grant. She also volunteers for The Luminosity Youth Summit, is the Youth Ambassador Program Coordinator for Dyslexia Mid North Coast, and a proud ambassador for and presenter at #LitFest2444.

Mariane Power

Mariane is a Clinical Psychology Registrar and holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Newcastle, a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Performance. Mariane’s big audacious goal is to see all unnecessary emotional pain and suffering eliminated within her lifetime, and she is obsessed with all things related to human potential. Mariane has over 15 years experience in consulting, facilitation and corporate training for personal and strategic growth. Her work as a Leadership Consultant in the corporate world further fuels her understanding of the necessary skills for the 21st Century workplace, and she has a particular interest in supporting our next generation to thrive.  Mariane is proud to have extended her personal purpose to support a number of not-for-profit and for-purpose initiatives including The Luminosity Summit and Project Gen Z, and she currently extends her expertise in positive youth development as an Impact Leader on the Board for Ambisie.

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