Two years ago I received a message from a dear friend I used to work with, Piseth Neary. He told me that the work we’d done together in Cambodia was over. The children of Otres had lost their project. He and his children had been living on one meal a day. He is a single parent, and was trying to help the children in the community, as well as his own: such is his huge heart.

I’d left Cambodia a year before, with no particular intention of returning. There was a bigger plan that I could not see. I knew life there had changed me. I was living a new life in Australia but feeling very disconnected and adrift. I hadn’t secured a job yet, a permanent home and I was quite unhappy with myself.
Who knew my two worlds were about to collide, or rather connect, and set me on a journey that would both heal me and reach out to help so many others?

In a moment of insanity but with an overwhelming sense of clarity, I felt what I had to do. The seed of Shine was planted.
I frantically wrote plans and the next day sent money to Piseth to keep teaching. We’d figure it out from there.

Two years on, there’s been much to ‘figure out.’ We’ve learnt together, made mistakes together, cried and laughed together. We’re constantly terrified and uncertain of the future. We both wholeheartedly believe in what we’re doing and that it’ll succeed. We’ve put it in the hands of the universe and every day we show up and see what we can do to make it work. I’m shaking on the inside writing this…we do need divine intervention to pull this off so Happy Khmer New Year, here is to Shine’s future and please help us create the best futures for the incredible children we support.

Every little bit of help is greatly received.…/173442/creating-bright-futures

An enormous thank you to Martina Valentini who has been with us since the start and kept it running, we couldn’t have done it without you. To Stephen Sowten who’s been our dependable rock! To Marjorie Wright who copes with my crazy ideas and life and supports me through it. Samantha McLaughlan, you’re an angel, thank goodness you found us – it’s because of you we can take it to the next level. To all the staff: Malaya, Kassim Tolin, Thorn, Reap and all the volunteers past and future, thank you. To all the students: keep being you. To all those in Otres who spread the word and raise money, you’re legends. And to anyone who has given, noticed us, said a kind word or told me to keep going when I don’t have anything in the tank: THANK YOU.

Suzanne Wright

CEO | Founder