It all started with a simple desire to visit and sing to the children at a centre but I ended up being handed the centre for 130 children with special needs!
I recall one day in September 2013 a close friend who used to be in the women’s choir with me in Sydney, visited me in Cambodia and at the end of her trip we agreed it would be wonderful to sing with some children. We were recommended a centre for children with special needs. We went to the centre, we sang and played with the children. We were touched by the care and love the children were getting at the centre, however at the end of our visit the caretaker of the last 10 years, a nun from New York told us that she had another calling and had to leave Cambodia to return home in the next 3-4 months. She was very sad and asked us if we knew anyone who could take over her role. All I knew that day was that it would not be me! I told her I would ask around. Two weeks before she left she still hadn’t found anyone, so she contacted me with a desperate plea to allow her to put my name in the bank account that she managed for the centre with $30,000 in it. She asked if I could please pay the mamas’ (the centre carers) salaries for the next six months. It was impossible for me to refuse this request, when I knew the mamas’ livelihood depended on their salary, so I said “Ok I think I can do that if you can leave me the list of the 60 mamas and how much they need to be paid.”