It is difficult to put into words how much Stephen Sowten has done for the children and families of Otres and Shine.
He met Suzanne 4 years ago: volunteering his time, energy and money to co-ordinate the raising of funds and building of toilet facilities for the students attending the former not-for-profit project (Painting Smiles) and the state primary school.
During this time, he volunteered as a much needed teaching assistant, alongside Suzanne and the two Cambodian teachers. His innate kindness was immediately apparent, building a wonderful rapport with the students and staff. He organised beach days, cinema trips and ice-cream treats for the students.
The children of Otres clearly touched his heart as he has returned every year since. He continues to work with the same children that he met all those years ago: enjoying the good days and working through many tough situations as they’ve arisen. He rallied his family and friends, who have donated many times, to aid the families being relocated in starting again. He has become a respected and much-loved member of the Shine and wider community.
He is about to leave Otres to return to the UK, but we know he will be back later this year…so it a farewell for now…not goodbye.
Thank you Steve, for you relentless enthusiasm and dedication, your enormous generosity and for being a diamond geezer.