By Travis Thompson
As I prepare to move to the U.S., Lori, Ponheary and I couldn’t be more excited about the immediate future of Ponheary Ly Foundation. A new day for the organization starts with the addition of Operations Director Jacqui Rawson.
Jacqui landed in Cambodia in late June, but she’s no stranger to this corner of the world. Previously, she lived three years in Phnom Penh first doing strategic planning and training for a health organization, then establishing her own hairdressing organization to provide vocational training for young adults who were at risk of being trafficked. In addition to that, she spent the following year teaching English in Vietnam.
She brings more than a decade of experience working within projects for a corporation in Australia. But, Jacqui, originally from New Zealand, says she considers her second home to be Cambodia because she fell in love with it during her first three years here.
Jacqui comes on board as PLF expands its work to a new school and village for the first time since 2007. Until now, we’ve been focused on going deeper into the schools we already serve in the countryside of northwest Cambodia. But, the addition of Romchek Primary School this October makes sense for so many reasons that you can read about here. Jacqui will be leading our mission to bring this school up to standard that allows students to not only learn, but have clean water and access to food and basic healthcare.
Jacqui will also play an integral part in continuing the expansion of PLF’s secondary school scholarship program, ensuring that some of Cambodia’s most impoverished and least supported students can stay in school. She’ll also be taking over the duty of running our volunteer programs.
No matter that all her skills and experience match with PLF perfectly, all of it would mean NOTHING if Jacqui didn’t have the most important qualities: The ability to see beyond cultural barriers, a drive and proven ability to reach a goal even when the obstacles are giant, and the ability to reach out to new people and grow the worldwide PLF family. I can’t wait for you to meet her!