Category Archives: Cambodia

Volunteering for Christmas and feeding the homeless every week

In my last newsletter and just before Christmas I put out a call for volunteers to help with the preparation and service of lunch on Christmas Day at Gethsemane Community in Petersham. It’s my usual Christmas Day gig – and as the year wound up, I took on the additional duties of trying to organise the volunteers for The Christmas Project. Read more and see the video to refresh your memory.

Making Christmas Day 2015 a joy for community, volunteers and homeless people

Here’s how it happened – starring  Zulu’s Community/Sue, Gethsemane/Myree, Vic, Our Big Kitchen, Live, Love, Learn and volunteers

  • I offered to assist Gethsemane Community‘s Sr Myree Harris to find and co-ordinate volunteers for Christmas Day and also to help fellow volunteer, Vic, with the sorting and delivery of hampers to boarding houses around the inner west.
  • I contacted Our Big Kitchen to ask for help in finding volunteers for the day and also to supply vegetables for the making of salads for the lunch.
  • OBK put the word out on their Facebook page and also introduced Live, Love, Learn – a children’s art program, who co-incidently were going to be making cookies and gift bags on Christmas Eve for (ideally) homeless and disadvantaged people on Christmas Day – but did not have a recipient. Divine providence was at work here as this perfect match was made! On Christmas Eve, I went to OBK to collect 100 beautifully decorated cookie bags and thank the 85 children who prepared these package. The afternoon was spent doing the final packing of gift bags and hamper deliveries to boarding houses.
  • My nephew, Tim, helped me prepare 3 industrial sized salads (in a tiny kitchen) for the Christmas Day lunch.
  • On Christmas Day, around 35 volunteers assisted to put on a memorable day for around 80 visitors and their carers, preparing and serving a delicious feast and truly enjoying each other’s company.

That’s the power of community, collaboration and co-operation – and Zulu’s Community.

Thank you to everyone who contributed goods, gifts, food, time, energy, attention and support to make this day run so smoothy and so well.  

On going – Sue and Vic team up to feed Sydney’s homeless

One of the key outcomes of this short but intense lead up to this festive season service is, that after 4 years of volunteering for Gethsemane, a very key connection was made. Vic, who has worked with Myree for 6 years with the running of Christmas Day lunch, was -dare I say, shocked and surprised that I could ‘take over’ and run things so smoothly and drama-free.


When Vic asked for my input into a community lunch that he has run for 3 years at a church in Darlinghurst, I said yes.

Each Thursday, Vic and a small team of volunteers prepare and serve fruit salad, burgers or sandwiches and coffee to around 40 homeless people. I have been volunteering most Thursdays now, and during his university break, so has Tim.

These few hours have become an important way for me to keep grounded and connected to my community. I look forward to this time and prioritise it, because it’s a tangible, practical way to serve my fellow human beings. I help feed people without any other agenda than to make a difference IN that moment.

We are a small team – from 4-7 people each week and this motley crew, called the ‘dream team’, are a really lovely bunch. It’s a small, but mighty effort – and we need more volunteers in our dream team.


If you can contribute 2.5 hours on a Thursday morning, even if it’s now and then, to assist us with feeding a small segment of Sydney’s homeless community – please contact me and I’ll connect you with Vic, who will be thrilled to have you as part of the ‘dream team’.


Here’s what Monica Olander from C3 Church said about Accidental Aid Worker:  Just finished reading your book Accidental Aid Worker. Thank you for sharing your journey – not just a how-to on becoming involved in community work – but a very raw, personal & honest account of your emotional, spiritual, physical & mental journey of life. Funny, tragic & inspirational all rolled into one, I admire your vulnerability, down-to-earth attitude and your courage to face both mountains and valleys, and to traverse them both. What a pleasure to get to know you further through reading your memoirs and of course, to have you on our team at our C3 Cares Community Lunch. You are greatly appreciated & I’m looking forward to Book No. 2!

Fundraiser for book and Geraldine’s 70th Birthday – 21 June

You don’t want to miss THIS event  – the most unique fundraiser in town on Sunday 21 June 2015 from 1 – 4pm.

BOOK HERE – until Friday 19 June – NO tickets at the door or on the day

Limited places are available for Sue Liu’s fundraiser, which is called a “book shower” for her memoir Accidental aid worker.  The afternoon event starts at 1pm and will be a cook-in at Bondi’s Our Big Kitchen – and will also be featuring an introduction to the book and  publishing project -so far 2 years in the making.

Special guests are Sarojini, who will be visiting from Sri Lanka (visa permitting) and Geraldine Cox, who will be celebrating her 70th Birthday with a special afternoon tea. It’s a fundraiser, so Sue is putting on a very crafty little market so you can buy goodies  – with funds raised going toward the publication of her book, communities and Sri Lanka and to Sunrise.

Sue will be making a few announcements and the book and will also share news about projects in Sri Lanka after her recent trip in April. She will also read the chapter, that tells of her meeting with Ms Cox in 2006 – which has lead to over 8 years of love and support with Sunrise Children’s Villages in Cambodia.

It’s a unique afternoon packed full of celebrations that you don’t want to miss!

It’s a ‘book shower’ and fundraiser for Sue’s upcoming book – Accidental aid worker and an afternoon tea 70th birthday celebration for Geraldine Cox.

  • An introduction to the book that spans more than 11 years and features adventures with Sri Lankan and Cambodian communities
  • A special chapter reading – find out how Sue met Geraldine Cox from Sunrise Children’s Villages
  • Meet special guest Geraldine Cox and celebrate her 70th birthday with afternoon tea
  • An announcement about the book project – VERY EXCITING!
  • Cook-in including a challah baking
  • Lots of goodies to buy at Zulu’s market – with funds going toward the book project, Sri Lankan communities and Sunrise Children’s Villages


  • Adults +16 yrs = $55 incl gst + $2 booking fee = $57.00
  • Kids – 15 yrs = $25 incl gst + $2 booking fee = $27.00

Ticket price includes GST supports Our Big Kitchen, the book project, Sri Lankan communities and Sunrise Children’s Villages.  A booking fee of $2.00 per ticket covers finance and administration fees associated with online bookings. Tickets are non-refundable. If you can not make it on the day you are welcome to send a substitute or sponsor someone to attend who can not afford a ticket.

For further details contact Sue on 0411 743015  – BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE



Candles for Community 2014 – for Sri Lanka, Cambodia AND a book project!

Ordering between: November 4 – 15 December for your Christmas delivery.

It’s a short campaign this year with less than 7 weeks to order your candles and gifts ( and counting down!) If you think “Ah…I have plenty of time..” well you may, but don’t leave it too late. Last orders will be taken on 15 December with the very last dispatch on  18 December.

As well as some of your favorites, I’ve introduced some newbies to the range! This year I have introduced:

  • A new flavour – Gardenia! It has already been popular with all of my lucky testers receiving samples – and loving that fresh, floral scent so much, I added it for everyone to enjoy!
  • HOT Pink now joins the popular mosaic familyand it’s as pretty as can be. It’s bound to be a hit with the pink lovers.
  • El Grande is the biggie of the range – an elegant large jar with a lid for those who like their candles, well, BIG! It has an estimated burn time of 85 hrs.
  •  And most excitingly -the Zulu community bag is here! I customised what is a monk’s bag and had them custom made in Cambodia. It comes in red or orange, with a donation to communities included! This will be free for you if your order is over $150
  • Here is the Candles for Community 2014 -2015 flyer that you can send to friends, family and colleagues. Your support in getting the word out there is so appreciated!

Give gifts that give back!

Each candle and card contains a donation component, which I donate at the end of the campaign to my chosen communities. The donation ranges from $2 – $6.50, and some items I have made the donation exclusive to a cause.

ACCIDENTAL AID WORKER – the story about Zulu’s Community over the last 10 years.

Accidental aid worker cover

Since 2005, I’ve been working voluntarily to develop creative opportunities and campaigns that engage and inspire others to take action to help people in need. Candles for Community has been one of the most loved and enduring campaigns that helps me to raise awareness and funds to support communities in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and organisations that support refugees and vulnerable communities in Australia.

I’m currently writing and self-publishing my memoir called Accidental aid worker, which is a journey through my adventures and experiences working with quirky individuals in far flung places who have devoted their lives to supporting people in their communities. Part of the profits from this years’ Candles for Community will help to fund the publication of this work, which also guide people with similar desires to craft their own campaigns and community ventures. You can read about this project by visiting

I’ll be writing more about Sri Lanka in the coming weeks – and also about Bruno’s Community . I’ll be in Sri Lanka late January – so hope to spend our donation dollars in communities while I’m there doing final research on my book with Bruno. You will certainly find out more about that – when my book is launched in late June (that’s the plan) with my very own Geraldine Cox by my side!

 Dedicated to Sunrise – the Sunrise Collection!


GroupshotsmallThere is a collection of gifts dedicated to SUNRISE and all funds raised from these items as stated will be donated.

It includes the GODDESS candle(dedicated to Geraldine), Sunrise kids cards and the orange Zulu Community bag – where the donation from those goods is dedicated to helping the kids. Have a look at the For Sunrise and Geraldine collection here!


The short answer is no – I don’t have a big audacious figure to shoot for. I just want to see how we go. I say WE – because it’s up to how well we do in selling, making and providing your gifts for Christmas, as to how much moolah I can give to my communities.

SO, if you love my candles, cards, gifts, flavors, creativity and efforts to build and support community, PLEASE order your gifts from Candles for Community, and tell all your friends, family and colleagues about us.

Everybody wins here.

Sue-21Thanks for your support,

and enjoy your candles and gifts.

Sue x


Playhouses give Sunrise kids a great afternoon of creative fun

When Sue Liu told her friend Sortec Ly that she was heading to Cambodia to spend school holidays with the kids from Sunrise Children’s Villages, he donated and organised transport of 15 of his awesome cardboard Puggy playhouses  to Cambodia. Sue also took 50 packets of textas and crayons, also donated by Sortec/ Puggy.

On Sue’s first day afternoon at Sunrise 1 in Phnom Penh, out came 4 cubbies, carried in their large, flat boxes on top of heads straight to the dormitories followed by excited little kids.  The bigger kids were put ‘in charge’ of putting together the castle, flying horse and teepee cubbies, trying to wrangle bits, pieces, instructions and squealing crayon wielding kids.

You can hear the shrieks of excitement can’t you? 50 children get hands on, some trying to sit in the cubbies before they are even constructed while others are drawing and decorating on the boxes and bits and pieces.

It was an hour or so of terrific (loud) excitement, creativity and fun. Let the photos speak for themselves.

The playhouses and crayons were also given to the kids at Sunrise 2 (Siem Reap) and to All Kids in Sihanoukville.

Thank you Sortec for your creative brilliance and such incredible generosity to your fellow Cambodians. You made a lot of kids so very happy. You can see the range of Sortec’s very cool playhouses at