That’s me, Duncan Stuart, wearer of the New Zealand t-shirt and author of this blog. I first came to Cambodia in 2004 and never expected to meet Svay Savong, let alone get involved with an NGO which has grown in size and scope over the next 10 years. I set up a website for Savong’s School (Click here) but blogs offer the chance to ruminate and think about the wider questions of education and social justice in Cambodia.
By day I’m a market researcher and self employed. I live in Auckland with my partner Susanna and get to Cambodia when I can. Each week I phone or Skype Savong and I remain in awe of how this young guy has made such a lofty dream come true.
After the tax man takes his share, pretty-much all of my income goes to Cambodia. However this has to change – with the growth of the project and (I might add) the decline of my health. So please don’t take offense if I ask for assistance from time to time. (We have a project right now in fact.)
When it comes to writing about the work of his NGO I’ve always tried to write well-researched pieces. To be honest I can’t stand charities that pull at the heartstrings without supporting their story with facts. “Help the children of Cambodia!” (Okay: How? Which children in particular? Give me the details!) For this I thank my editors at the Sydney Morning Herald and several NZ-based magazines for whom I freelanced many years ago. Their consistent advice: support your case with evidence.
Part of the role of this blog is to assemble, slowly, a broader picture of Cambodia’s development in the education sector. So my articles may range around such themes as arts and film, history, culture as well as around the personal insights and stories I get to hear.
When I first arrived in Cambodia I was in the middle of a mental-health crisis and frankly, I did not expect to be alive by that Christmas. The moment I arrived in Cambodia from Bangkok my explosive heart-rate slowed noticeably and I experienced an unexpected sense of peace. I felt as if I had arrived “home.” I cannot explain this, but I experience the same sensation each time I journey to Cambodia.
Perhaps you have the same relationship with this complex, warm-hearted, striving little nation. Thank you for reading this blog.
For a taste of what this blog is about try clicking here!