Dear Friend of EYC,
It is now 10 years since Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC) began; we owe our donors and supporters immense thanks for making our work possible. EYC has thrived beyond my greatest hopes, in large part due to you, our donors. We now start a new era at EYC with a transition to new leadership and a solid foundation to build on.
My family and I have moved to Denver, Colorado, USA and I’m wrapping up the last pieces of the transition. Stepping into the role of country manager is a dynamic leader who is already improving upon what we’ve built.
On a personal note, my time in Cambodia these past 10 years has been a blessing and a life experience I will always cherish. In particular the students of EYC have shown such remarkable courage and persevered beyond what I could ever imagine. The stark contrast between their inner beauty and the environments they were born into was a constant reminder to fight for their cause. And they were always worth fighting for. So thanks from the bottom of my heart for all of you who have been so generous and have made EYC’s work possible. Many students whose prospects in life ten years ago were bleak are now great success stories.
There have been so many great stories to tell, and it is not possible to communicate how much happens on the ground. The great results improved each year, and now with 800 students coming to EYC schools each day we feel great about what we’re doing and what we can achieve with your donations. EYC’s students need and greatly appreciate your help – please DONATE whatever you can so we can deliver our leadership, self-development and education programs. We want to expand our sports programs so more of our students, particularly girls, can take part in soccer (football), yoga, ultimate frisbee, cycling, swimming and aerobics.If you need a little extra motivation, all donations made through October 21st will be MATCHED 50% by an anonymous donor (up to $10,000)! So please, donate here; https://support.oneworldchildrensfund.org/fundraise?fcid=788834
I hope to be in touch more with reflections and updates in the future. It is incredibly emotional for me to leave Cambodia and the wonderful community of EYC. Although I am happy to be where I am, I will continue to miss the students, their families, the staff and the slum communities where I was always treated with such warmth.
Now let me introduce my friend and successor Delphine Vann! Delphine has been acquainted with EYC for several years, and it was her admiration for our students that developed into her replacing me. The transition has been in the making since late 2015, and I’m very pleased to report that she already has made obvious to all her ability to move EYC’s mission forward and to develop our students.
A little background on Delphine; in 2001, Delphine moved to Cambodia, drawn by the need to re-discover the country of her birth and the home country of her father, who is regarded as Cambodia’s greatest architect. As a little girl, as war was emerging in Cambodia, she and her family were able to escape to find refuge in Switzerland, her mother’s country.
The urge to “return to Cambodia to help” inspired Delphine to build a career as a humanitarian. She worked in war torn areas around the world from Bosnia, Rwanda, to Columbia, returning to Cambodia in 2001. After fifteen years of working in the country, Delphine’s conclusion is that Cambodia’s development lies in the hands of its youth.
Since taking the official role of country manager in May 2016, Delphine’s leadership has maintained all of EYC’s current programs, continuing to provide essential education and development opportunities for very marginalized but deserving youth.
Another exciting development in EYC’s leadership is that, after graduating from university, our very own Nov Synoeun assumed the role of program manager for all of EYC. Synoeun started as a student at EYC’s very first school, Aziza School, and has done amazing things along the way in these past ten years; too many to describe, but here is a quick video of her story. She has never forgotten how EYC saved her from an uneducated life in the factories, and wanted to give back to EYC. We are lucky to have her skills, leadership and perspective.
Lastly, EYC is very fortunate to have a strong board of directors; several are active on a day-to-day basis, which make a huge difference in their effectiveness.
We hope you’ll feel as confident and overjoyed as I in the leadership of EYC. With your continued help the students at EYC will continue to take opportunities to improve their lives toward a future with joy and dignity.
I am stepping back from an official role at EYC, but I intend to stay involved and connected. I would love to hear from anyone who may have questions, ideas or concerns about EYC – please contact me or anyone at EYC;
Drew McDowell, Delphine & the EYC team