Over the years I have been blessed with many personal and professional highlights. Meeting with Geraldine Cox in Sydney recently was way up there in ticking both of these boxes. Geraldine is the founder and director of Cambodia’s Sunrise Children’s Village, which provides care to over 400 abandoned, disadvantaged, disabled and orphaned children. Geraldine recently shared the honour of appearing on Australian Story, and it was the many links within this common thread that brought us together.
I have followed Geraldine’s work closely over the years after first hearing her speak at a conference I attended some eight years ago. Her philosophy on what really ‘mattered’ in life impressed upon me deeply, as did her work in Cambodia. I thought I’d done my bit with the multitude of foster children I have raised but this colourful, heartfelt woman leaves me for dead.
Upon meeting Geraldine I was instantly struck by an honesty and authenticity that is so often lost in our culture. At 70, her dedication and commitment to the children in her life is beyond question and when you too have lived with similar blood running through your veins, you know it when you see it in another.
Some 18 months ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Cambodia. I have been a fervent traveller in life but no place has permeated my skin like this. The humility and vulnerability of the people speaks volumes of the atrocious history they have endured. The children, now a generation or two down the line, continue to suffer as a consequence. Without the work of people such as Geraldine, these little ones, completely alone in the world, often fall into the wrong hands. I don’t need to go in to detail about what I mean by ‘wrong’ but let’s just say it is the lowest depths of humanity.
I have put much thought in to how I can best help Geraldine. I am often asked by people how they can help those in need? How do they know a cause is the real deal? I have done the research for you and have found a legitimate, worthy cause, run by a woman I am proud to call a friend and mentor. After much thought, however, it goes beyond this.
I have made many mistakes as a parent but there is one thing I believe I did get right. I have raised my children with a deep understanding of the importance of service to others as the fundamental backbone to life. In order to achieve this we had to live it together. We have built refuges in the Solomon Islands, visited and helped in orphanages, opened our doors to many children in need, raised money, sent parcels and written letters. If there is one single thing on my parenting journey that I believe to be most important, this would be it. The benefits for all involved are beyond words.
Due to the financial crisis Geraldine recently lost some major financial contributors. She needs $120,000 every month to adequately care for the needs of these beautiful children. Many of her children go on to University, but when she confided in me that she was on her way to tell two of her children that they would have to withdraw from their tertiary studies due to a lack of funds, my heart sank.
As many of you know, I am not one to spruik a cause but when I do, you have my word it is with good reason. I know first hand that without Geraldine these children have nothing and worse. Having carried this burden on a much smaller scale I struggle to comprehend the gravity of this perpetual weight. As parents trying to raise morally conscious children the rewards in supporting Geraldine and her ‘family’ are endless. The implementation of such precious values in our children can go a long way in counteracting the many unpleasant influences they are faced with daily.
I am a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child and there are certainly no boundaries around where that village starts and finishes.
To make a donation or to sponsor a child, please click here
Can you help? Yes you can. Share this story among friends and family so that this worthy cause can get the financial support it needs now to transform the lives of Cambodian children for the better.