About Us

Have a Heart for Cambodia is a registered charity, first established in late 2015 to raise funds and awareness for disadvantaged children in Cambodia. Our primary fundraising event is a bi-annual exhibition and auction of student artwork from across Victoria.

A trip back to his homeland after 35 years with my Cambodian born husband and meeting with very special organizations working to better the lives of disadvantaged Cambodian children, led to a vision for Victorian students and their school communities.

We currently support two organizations working in Cambodia. ODA (Opportunities of Development Thru Art) in Siem Reap set up by Leng Touch, a gentle Cambodian artist and his wife who wanted to give something back to their country after their own very personal experiences of the Killing Fields.

In response to the needs of so many disadvantaged Cambodian children, ODA supports 33 children living full time ii the ODA home stay school and runs seven free English night schools for around 700 students from poor farming families from outlying villages out of Siem Reap.

The second organisation, FLAME CAMBODIA in the busy city of Phnom Penh ‘ is about inspiration. FLAME connects with slum dwelling children, and inspires them to leave begging or rubbish collecting and start school or re-engage in education. The goal is that each child reaches beyond their potential, lifting the roof off their current dreams. They call the process of slum child becoming young leader – “The Full Circle” – kids emerge as confident leaders in their communities, inspiring others in education, service and leadership. The ultimate.’

‘OUR SUNSET, MY WORLD’, the first ever Victoria-Wide Exhibition of School’s Art was overwhelming. The theme encouraged students to reflect on their world, their lives and then respond through their art to the lives of children in Cambodia. The result of this was an amazing Exhibition…‘the gifts of our student hearts’ through their artwork, to the children of Cambodia.

All Victorian students’ artwork was silently auctioned. Alongside the Victorian student art, a LIVE AUCTION featured paintings by children from ODA and an amazing selection of photography from a former FLAME student now working with FLAME CAMBODIA. The Exhibition allowed students to see, through their own actions, they can make a difference to the world around them. “What a powerful medium art is in getting messages across and building relationships.” ‘Our students were so proud to take part..they really felt a sense of community and being empowered to know they can make a difference in the lives of others ‘ commented teachers.

Behind the scenes, ‘Have a Heart for Cambodia’ has grown, supported by a remarkable team of volunteers inspired by the lives of hundreds of children whose lives were touched by our 2016 Exhibition.

Our visions is to make a difference to the lives of hundreds more Cambodian children through celebrating our Victorian students and their exceptional artwork at IMAGINE 2018.

Julie Lach

Director, Have a Heart for Cambodia