“I realised that for organisations to be sustainable, they needed to be run by local staff. And for local staff to run organisations, they needed to be empowered.”
When Sally Hetherington was 25, she packed up all her belongings and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia, determined to make a difference. But when she got there, the situation on the ground was grave. Sally had been told that the role she came to play in managing short-term volunteers was crucial to sustainable development. However, what she saw was disempowered staff, children with attachment issues, and an unhealthy ‘white saviour’ syndrome. Sally knew she had to make a big change.
So she started at the core, the community. Sally set about to develop a community centre with a team of Cambodians, with the end goal of making herself redundant. Sticking to her belief of local empowerment in a country filled with voluntourists was tough. Despite the countless obstacles she faced living in a community with a culture significantly different to hers, she was able to form insurmountable relationships and learn first-hand of the struggles of poverty faced by community members in the outskirts of rural Siem Reap.
This manifesto has five years of stories that will make you laugh, cry and challenge your preconceived beliefs about the best way to help people in developing countries. It is a must-read for those who want to make a positive change through ethical and sustainable development.
This is a signed copy. All profits from the sale of these books are donated to Human and Hope Association Inc.
Sally Hetherington was 25 when she packed up her belongings and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. Originally running a foreign-volunteer program, Sally realised she had been falsely sold the message that sustainable development couldn’t occur without ongoing support from international volunteers.
Realising her errors, Sally spent the next four years building up the community centre, Human and Hope Association, with a team of local staff. She successfully made herself redundant in 2016, and the organisation is now entirely locally-led and run.
Sally now leads Human and Hope Association Incorporated, a registered charity in Australia that fundraises and advocates for the cause. She is passionate about raising awareness about the pitfalls of international voluntourism and encouraging Australian citizens to help people in low-income countries in ethical, empowering and sustainable ways.
This book is published by Elephant House Press.