They chat about the need to change the narrative around volunteering, to be more aligned with principles of local-ownership and sustainable livelihoods.
Sally encourages others to learn from her mistakes in this article about the damages that can be done from voluntourism. “I was a voluntourist; that’s what made me change my ways. Good intentions aren’t good enough when we are playing with people’s lives.”
- Her entrepreneurial beginnings and her early career in the financial services sector
- Her family connections in Myanmar and the trip that led to her awakening as a global citizen
- Her experiences as a volunteer in Cambodia and what she learned about the impact of the ‘voluntourism’ industry on local communities
- How she built up a locally led NGO in Cambodia, making herself redundant in the process
- Her top tips for being an ethical traveller and helping communities overseas in a positive way
- The best advice for young people wanting to volunteer abroad
- More ideas on how to be altruistic in life
- Thought-provoking ideas and tips for life in general!
- The danger of unskilled volunteers.
- Why skilled volunteers are making skilled Cambodians redundant.
- Our impact on children at risk and how voluntourism adds to the lack of stability and impacts their attachment issues.
- How empowering women creates an intergenerational increase in education, allowing women to rise, and reducing domestic violence.
- How can we be ‘ethical travelers’ and be conscious of the footprint we leave behind in the countries we visit?
- Why the term ‘third world’ needs to be eradicated in order to combat poverty.
Sally Hetherington will tell you she was once a “voluntourist”.
The Northmead woman — who has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours — moved to Cambodia in 2011 to help street children.
“I fell in love with the country but I realised I was going about things the wrong way,” she said.
That’s the question Sally Hetherington OAM wrestles with in her autobiography It’s Not About Me.
Read about Sally’s journey to sustainable development in Cambodia.
Listen to Sally speak about her book on this podcast dedicated to Australian woman writers.
Read about why Sally stepped back as a leader.
Read about one traveller’s change of perspective after reading ‘It’s Not About Me’.
Learn about Sally’s passion for ethical travel.
Listen to Sally talk about her opinions on voluntourism in Cambodia and how those wanting to help can make sustainable change.
Read why Sally was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours.
Sally Hetherington is an Australian who is passionate about empowerment and sustainability in developing countries. She’s spent the past five years living in Cambodia, committed to developing projects so more Cambodians can break free from the cycle of poverty. Sally’s journey started when she was 25 years old and took a 15-month career break to volunteer in Cambodia for a local school. Five years later, she’s made herself redundant from a dream job and is now heading home.
Sally talks about what she learnt when she moved to Cambodia.
Most people would not be happy about losing their jobs, but Sally Hetherington is thrilled to be leaving her position at Human and Hope Association in Cambodia. This is because after four years, the education provider is now entirely locally run. In Cambodia, there are insufficient staff in schools, resulting in many classes consisting of up to 90 students.
It is not often someone is happy to be losing a job. But that is exactly how Novocastrian Sally Hetherington feels as she prepares to leave her position with Human and Hope Association in Cambodia. The 30-year-old, who grew up in Adamstown Heights and completed a Bachelor of Business degree at the University of Newcastle, has been based in Cambodia for the past five years.