Shine Cambodia Incorporated was established in Otres in April 2016 in response to Painting Smiles English School closing down. This closure inspired Suzanne Wright, who had managed Painting Smiles from 2013-2015, to start again with a new vision: To create a holistic centre to offer children in poverty a bright future.
From April – October 2016, Shine provided 2 hours a day of free English lessons (one hour to each ability level), health and hygiene classes, and occasional programmes of art and environmental awareness.
In October 2016, Suzanne returned to Cambodia, now a resident in Australia, with a sustainability plan. She conducted a needs analysis with community leaders to ensure the plan for holistic services was actually needed by the community and the vision became clear.
The word spread. It was definitely wanted.
Shine Cambodia opened its temporary doors (using borrowed classrooms) and 80 students enrolled. More came but Shine was at full capacity.
Through 2017, Shine Cambodia developed and provided structured programs and services to over 125 students and their families. The community pulled together when land evictions threatened to separate them and Shine was able to support. Numerous cases of sickness, hunger, family problems, school absenteeism were identified and supported by the beginnings of our social work team. Shine formed a partnership with the local State School to ensure it’s working WITH the system. It worked hard to engage local people so that community engagement and development is at the heart of Shine.
At the start of 2018, the first impact measurement was conducted to verify the need for services and aid the accurate planning of future work.
And in the background, Shine has evolved into an education opportunity for young people in Melbourne, Australia. It provides work experience to 14+ year olds, enabling a new generation to have an immediate impact: developing a social conscience and the practical skills to go out and be change makers at home, in their community and globally.