Melissa Eakin
Melissa Eakin
Melissa Eakin
Melissa Eakin
Melissa Eakin

Melissa Eakin

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* All donations over AUD$2 are tax deductible for Australian donors.*


$170.00raised of $1,000.00 goal

17% funded

As most of you are probably aware, earlier this year, I volunteered with Hair Aid and travelled with the girls from Lazuli & Co to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Our primary role once we had arrived was to train local people who lived in critical poverty the skill of cutting hair.

Now, my overseas travel has not been very extensive. Prior to Cambodia I had been to New Zealand a couple of times as a little kid, and once in my early 20’s & Bali when I was 12.

As an almost 40-year-old volunteering to go to Cambodia, I had realistic expectations and was preparing myself for the worst-case scenario. I really had no idea what to expect in terms of the scale of poverty, would there be children begging on the street like there was in Bali when I was there (a very long time ago), would I use the toilet properly and remember to NOT flush the loo paper????

Never would I have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would come home feeling like I had left a piece of my heart in Siem Reap. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined making friends with hairdressers (who I am still in contact with – Thank you Hair Aid Family) who had travelled from Chicago, California, Holland. Yet this was my team. Each day was hot, funny, sad, stressful, yet incredibly rewarding. Our students were so keen to learn, they were like sponges. The most happy and grateful sponges!

Our team had the largest group of trainees, with close to 30 starting and 20 by the end of the week. It wasn’t until about halfway through I noticed that our youngest student was missing out due to the language barrier. Her older brother was coming with her to learn or perhaps as her translator. Is that not the sweetest thing ever? It was around this midweek time when the NGO that had organised for her to come, sent one of their staff as a translator for this young student. This particular NGO was Reach. I knew when I met these strong women who were advocating for the children in their program that they meant business, they were there for all of the right reasons.

Living in our privilege, we often hear of NGO’s that ‘claim’ to enrich and empower local communities, when in fact they are there to take advantage and capitalise on cruel and impoverished third world living conditions.
This is NOT Reach.
I have been admiring the resilience of Emily and her team during this pandemic from the safety & comfort of my home in Northern NSW, itching to get back to Siem Reap.

Since returning home I have been sending donations when I can to both Reach and Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel. In fact, my birthday fundraiser was for both of these organisations. So, this is my why. I want to help Reach continue to provide the amazing services that they set out to provide to their 100+ families before COVID struck. This is why fundraising for this particular ride is so important to me, and why I have chosen to get on board and support Reach’s Side by Side Ride in 2021. Successful fundraising will mean that Reach can continue to support over 100 poverty stricken families for another year.

Reach is more than just an English school.

o At Reach the students are provided with FREE English, Math, Ethics, Sports & Art Lessons. They are provided with nutritious school meals Monday – Friday.
o Reach has a Community Outreach Program with services such as Social Work, Family Education, Counselling & Healthcare.
o Reach provide 6-month Basic Computer Literacy Courses for children and young people. Students who maintain 95% attendance receive 10kg of rice per month for their families. So instead of being sent to earn money for the family they are being sent to learn and bring home rice rewards.
o All students have access to free monthly bike rides and repairs.
o Reach provides individual Public Highschool Sponsorship for teenagers – WAIT what? Public Highschool sponsorship???? But in Australia that’s free right??? Not in Cambodia. How blessed are we???
o And once the Reach students make it through their high school education Reach assists with Vocational Training or University Scholarships.

Your generous donation will directly help these families in need by breaking the poverty cycle and enabling self-sustainability within the community.

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Sponsor and Raise

Melissa is sponsoring an at-risk youth to cycle 200kms in two days and is fundraising on their behalf to raise money for their community.

Show your support by helping Melissa reach her target, no donation is too small!