• 2018 Ethical Enterprise Awards

    We are proud to be finalists in the 2018 Moral Fairground Ethical Enterprise Awards.

    The President of our Australian fundraising board, Sally Hetherington, recently sat down to talk about her journey building up our organisation, and the importance of local empowerment in developing countries.

    Our ethical enterprise has been alleviating poverty through a strategy focused on a local approach to development. Whilst voluntourism, a 2-billion-dollar a year industry, is increasing, having seen the controversy surrounding foreign-led organisations in poverty-stricken Cambodia, HHA does not allow foreign volunteers. This is particularly important from a child protection perspective, to ensure that the children’s lives at the community centre are not interrupted by frequent comings and goings of foreign volunteers.

    Our President, Sally, knew that for organisations in Cambodia to be sustainable, they needed to be run by Cambodians. With an incredibly low staff turnover (only one staff member has departed since 2016), the team are able to build trust with the community and build up the reputation of the Sewing Program. This is particularly important during our community outreach, when we recruit new students ahead of each new term. During this process, we ensure we engage with vulnerable community members who are either living in poverty, or are at a high-risk of falling back into poverty. We conduct an individual assessment to determine student’s suitability for the program, and ensure we have a proper understanding of their expectations from the program, as well as their career goals.

    A critical aspect in achieving the outcomes noted in the Sewing Program, is to ensure students commit to the 10-month program for its entirety. To discourage students from dropping out of the program for example, we provide students with a contract whereby they agree to pay back 50% of the program costs if they drop out. This has increased our retention rate from 50% to 92%. Upon graduation, there are also instances where students are unable to find suitable jobs immediately, and/or give up their newly acquired skill as a result. Overall, these challenges place students at risk of falling back into poverty. To mitigate this, we often partner with reputable, ethical workplaces to ensure that students can apply for jobs through them. We also invite students into our sewing collaboration, whereby alumni seamstresses complete bulk orders to earn a part-time income.

    We wish Sally the best of luck in the finals this Thursday, 25th October in Melbourne!

  • 2018 JCI Australia TOYP Honouree – Sally Hetherington!

    Congratulations to Sally Hetherington, the President of Human and Hope Association Inc, who was named a 2018 JCI Australia Top Outstanding Young Person Honouree.

    Sally was honoured this past weekend for her humanitarian work alongside Weh Yeoh from OIC Cambodia and Andrew Mellody from Co-Ground Coffee. Sally was nominated by Melissa Abu-Gazaleh from the Top Blokes Foundation.

    “I first met Sally through a JCI Illawarra Meet and Greet event. Since then, I have come to know how hard working and dedicated she is to her cause. Years on, she has focused and refined her efforts to see a real social impact, she’s one of Australia’s modest social entrepreneurs.” – Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, CEO, Top Blokes Foundation

    Sally is a social entrepreneur that embodies the values of service leadership. Firstly, she left a comfortable lifestyle to head overseas to live a minimal but enriching lifestyle, never once with a complaint. Once there, she stood up to unethical NFP practices, that is, voluntourism and empowered a community to not settle for less. From the beginning, she had a very strong goal – to leave HHA and the community once they reach sustainability, and years on, she has not wavered. This is a true testament to a service leader who is not led by ego or profile but instead a commitment to reducing poverty and achieving genuine social impact.

    “I have worked with Sally directly and indirectly for more than five years. She is one of a great person who I met in my life who passionate about helping/empowering Cambodians. A former Operations Manager at Human and Hope Association for almost four years, she was professional and highly effective in her role. Human and Hope Association is run entirely by our local staff thanks to her concepts of empowerment and sustainability. Additionally, she inspired us; our staff are empowered and understood their values of helping their community. I am really impressed of her passion of helping Cambodians, because although she left Human and Hope Association in 2016, she still doing a great job and hard work to support us as the President of Human and Hope Association Incorporated, especially doing fundraising and making awareness about Human and Hope Association.” – Thai San, Director, Human and Hope Association

    Congratulations to Sally, Weh and Andrew for your commitment to sustainable development and tackling the issues you are passionate about.

  • Walk for Education


    35% of Cambodians live in poverty. We have the power to change these statistics.

    On Sunday 11 November, our Australian fundraising board, Human and Hope Association Incorporated, will be hosting an organised group walk from Spit Bridge to Manly to raise much-needed funds to go towards the Human and Hope Association education program for local Cambodian children. The walk will be approximately 4 hours. Following the conclusion of the walk, participants will be welcomed to grab a drink or something to eat at a local establishment in Manly (all food and beverages will be at the cost of participants).

    Every $30 entry fee will provide 60 hours of education, clean drinking water and library access for a Cambodian child living in poverty.

    Siem Reap is the major tourist hub in Cambodia, so knowing the English language is essential for gaining a well-paying job in the tourism sector. The English program at Human and Hope Association is run by three Cambodian staff who are university graduates. Through weekly meetings, feedback sessions and training, they are constantly developing the program to ensure it has a maximum impact. The English classes include general English, creative writing, conversational English and a young adult program. Classes are capped at 18 students to ensure a quality education.

    The students learn from textbooks that have been developed by the education team at Human and Hope Association. These textbooks are culturally appropriate and relevant to Cambodians. They learn through games, reading, singing and visual aids. Once a week they study English in the library, utilising a large range of English reading materials. On average, 90% of students pass their six-monthly exams.

    Every Friday, the students participate in life skills workshops that supplement the students’ academic learnings. This might seem unusual to a western audience, but the considerations we take for granted such as personal hygiene and setting appropriate boundaries are not as well understood in the Cambodian community. The absence of teaching these life skills puts the achievement of academic outcomes at risk. In many ways, these life skills workshops are critical enabling factors. A child’s health and security are a necessary first step before we can hope to improve their chances for a happier and more productive life through a better education. Our living values workshops have seen school suspensions drop from five per year to nil per year.

    When you Walk for Education on the 11th of November, you are ensuring we can continue to run this important program.


  • Announcing Sally Hetherington as the Volunteer of the Year in the 2018 Third Sector Awards!

    We are proud to announce that the President of our Australian fundraising board, Sally Hetherington, has been named the 2018 Volunteer of the Year in the Third Sector Awards!

    Sally’s commitment to alleviating poverty in Cambodia is grounded by her natural leadership, social entrepreneurship, and constant drive. As President, she manages a team of 14 volunteers and board members and is a leader who shows a genuine interest in the wellbeing of her team. Never one to complain, and always with a sense of humour, she is a constant support for her team and is responsible for recruiting, inducting and mentoring new staff. She places no emphasis on hierarchy and runs HHA Incorporated as a horizontal organisation whereby all staff members are appreciated, heard, and treated equally. She has produced a comprehensive board handbook and volunteer induction process, organises monthly board meetings, seeks out professional learning opportunities, and shares her learnings in how to run a successful ethical and sustainable organisation with other organisations.

    By extension, Sally is critical in bridging the relationship between HHA Incorporated and HHA Cambodia. Having previously worked with HHA Cambodia for four years as our Operations Manager, Sally originally approached the third sector space as one who wanted to volunteer their time and help those out of poverty. Here, Sally observed the ineffectiveness of foreign aid, particularly through the high turn-over of unskilled volunteers and the correlating disempowerment of local staff. In realising the flaws in her original outlook, Sally made a personal commitment to assist HHA Cambodia to transform into a sustainable organisation with locally trained staff. Through Sally’s leadership, she oversaw the transition of HHA Cambodia becoming entirely Khmer-led, developed a constant stream of income and a donor database and developed critical relationships of trust with marginalised citizens including children, people living in poverty, and those impacted by domestic violence.

    Through her diverse domestic and international experience in the third sector, Sally continues to reach new heights and achievements, and has to this day, done so without an ego, but a commitment to reducing poverty and achieving genuine social impact.

    Well done, Sally!

  • Building the Future Leaders of Cambodia

    We wish to establish a Student Development Program in 2019. The aim of this program is to inspire our students to become leaders through mentoring and exploring the world around them.

    Most of our students come from vulnerable backgrounds, and although they are surrounded by great role models when they study at Human and Hope Association, we can’t say the same for their home lives. This development program will see the students immersed in mentoring activities, excursions and leadership workshops so they can expand their minds, knowledge, skills and teamwork.


    Our country is in need of ethical leaders. We know that it is difficult to make the change from high up, which is why our grassroots approach is most effective. We are essentially building tomorrow’s leaders who will act with compassion, empathy and integrity.

    The three activities that will form the Student Development Program are:

    1. Mentoring program
    This program will provide mentoring opportunities for our sewing students about their studies, family issues, future employment and other personal development plans. All current sewing students will partake in the program over 10 months. Mentored by our Director and Vocational Training Coordinator, these students will be met with individually for 30 minutes each once a month. Our staff and students will make an action plan so the students can take the necessary steps to achieve their goals. This will form part of our ongoing monitoring and evaluation strategy.

    Our graduated English students will also have the opportunity to be mentored on their future goals, including their study plans and employment opportunities. Over six months, 30 students who have graduated from our final English level will be mentored by our Education and Community Manager. Their parents will also be involved in the program so they can help keep their children on track with their action plan, and ensure they achieve their goals.

    2. Excursions
    As the majority of our students live in poverty, they aren’t fortunate enough to leave their village often. Our excursions will encourage the students to learn about the world around them by partaking in various experiences.

    Three times a year, 50 of our students aged from nine and up will be selected to join the trips through a lucky draw. In addition to visiting different locations, a mentoring session will be conducted throughout the trips to reflect on what the students learn and experience. There will also be team building games so the students learn that they are so much stronger together. The suggested excursions are as follows:

    Trip 1: Visit Angkor Wat, businesses and Angkor National Museum

    Trip 2: Go to the cinema and play football (Cambodia’s favourite sport)

    Trip 3: Join social events such as planting trees, cleaning up rubbish or visiting Phare, the Cambodian Circus

    3. Youth Leadership Scholarships
    Our outstanding students will be provided with scholarships to join the Possibilities World Youth Leadership program. We have been sending our staff on training at Possibilities World since 2014, and always feel empowered and inspired. We want our students over the age of 13 to feel the same way. We will select the participants as follows:

    #1 priority: The top three students aged between 12 and 19
    #2 priority: The outstanding students (role model students)
    #3 priority: The students who have the highest scores

    The students will learn the following topics:

    1. Self-leadership and confident development
    2. Goal-setting and project management
    3. Effective problem-solving and resourcefulness
    4. Proactive team development and communication

    Upon the completion of the program, students will be able to acquire skills in standing up for themselves and others, managing peer pressure, believing in their values and worth, developing critical thinking skills to help them in positive decision-making, and the importance of working collectively and collaboratively in overcoming challenges.

    Please contact us if you are able to fund a component of the student development program or the full program.