December 11th, 2016
Two amazing events were held on 8 and 10 September that warmed the hearts, minds and souls of all those in the room, and the stomachs of those in the wider community. Both events were fundraisers for Geraldine Cox from Sunrise Children’s Villages in Cambodia at Bondi community kitchen, Our Big Kitchen.
On Sunday: 55 of our guests were joined by 5 young people from Cambodia who were visiting on a study tour. Needless to say, they stole the show just by being here and being themselves – innocent, appreciative, sincere and humble young people. I started off by introducing the young people, including my personal connection with Waew who has been my sponsor child for 7 years.
I don’t THINK there was a dry eye in the room when 17 year old Waew sprung from her seat when I, ‘mum Sue’ invited the kids up to introduce themselves. Courageous young woman Waew is, I could not have been prouder of her. Her joyous spirit shone bright and she was able to tell the whole room what life is like at Sunrise. She was joined by her sisters and brothers who introduced themselves despite their shyness and emotion and performed a musical number. You can share this moment with us here.
The groups then went off into the kitchen to start chopping away! On the menu was: Tom Yum soup, fish balls with angel hair pasta, fried rice and Anzac cookies. After the chopping and prep was complete and while the cooking was being done in the kitchen, Rabbi Slavin spoke to us about community and connection, Geraldine told us more about her life, Cambodia and the work of Sunrise helping children.
Sunday photographs by Laurachel Ventus
Tuesday’s event was a business gathering and had a very different vibe. I opened up the session by talking about my personal journey in life, realities of business, my commitment to Geraldine and children as my family, efforts to redefine my purpose in life, living it in my business with community at the core.
On the menu was Tom Yum soup, meatballs with tomato sauce on pasta, fried rice and apple strudel! While it was all cooking, Geraldine and Rabbi also spoke about our connections to each other, the practicalities of running, supporting and financing community organisations. In order to continue on – it requires action and involvement from others.
Geraldine frankly described the heart wrenching decisions and pressure she faces daily to run her three centers, being mother to over 300 children, and having to raise over a million dollars each year to keep it all going. The stories she recounts include the brutality of sexual assault, trafficking and abuse of children who suffer at the hands of a corrupt and damaged culture in Cambodia.
From my own point of view, I’ve heard these stories many times, and it still shocks me to hear them. Being a face and a friend to many of these children at Sunrise – you would never know of the horrors that they have lived through already in their young lives because their joy and positivity really shine through. They know how lucky they are to be with Geraldine and the caring Cambodian staff at Sunrise and many do make the best of the opportunities they have, to learn English, go to school and be part of a truly unique family.
Strong connections were made amongst all of our guests from Sunday and Tuesday and conversations are already happening amongst us, about how to continue to support Geraldine with her great work in growing up these young, inspirational people.
And for OBK – I know that the experience of being hands on and feeding our vulnerable communities struck a chord with everyone and many amongst us will return to the kitchen to lend a helping hand.
Tuesday photographs by SJ Allen
Zulu will be running more cook-in events at OBK as well as further opportunities to support Sunrise. The best way to stay in touch is via facebook pages:
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