Beechworth donor sees impact of supporting ChildFund Australia programs in Cambodia

EYE OPENING: Melinda Cox, of Beechworth (left), with the postie bike presented to ChildFund Cambodia staff, a donation from three family groups. The all-terrain bike will allow essential items to be transported more easily.
EYE OPENING: Melinda Cox, of Beechworth (left), with the postie bike presented to ChildFund Cambodia staff, a donation from three family groups. The all-terrain bike will allow essential items to be transported more easily.

A Beechworth woman who witnessed how much a motorcycle could help Cambodian villagers now wants to improve their access to clean water.

Melinda Cox visited Cambodia in April to deliver the postie bike donated by the Cox, Cooper and Sheehan families to support the work of ChildFund Australia.

The development organisation said many villages could not be reached by car, with seasonal rains making some roads inaccessible for months.

Designed for all terrains and weather, the postie bike might deliver water filters, reading kits for schools, vaccines for immunisations or solar lamps to villages without electricity.

“We got to see the motorbike in action,” Ms Cox said.

“It was a really positive experience, I was really impressed with the programs that I got to see.

“I think the donors to those sorts of programs should be proud of where their money’s going because I could see that it was going to local staff and practitioners, so it was getting to the right areas.”

During her trip, Ms Cox was made well aware of some differences between her life and that of her host country.

“I get to go home from work and have a lovely, hot shower and a glass of water, but that wasn’t the reality for where we visited,” she said.

“We met the health centre clinician who sees people each day and he said some of the key reasons people were coming into his health centre were around things like poor water supply.

“I just felt how lucky we are in the North East to be able to have access to clean water.

“The other donor and I said to one another, ‘Is this something we could help, what could we do to make something happen here?’”

Ms Cox hopes to raise $5000 to fund a community well for a remote village in Chhloung District to be built by the local people.

“It will be a fully functioning well that is easy to use and easy to maintain, that they’ll be able to use to get their daily water,” she said.

“When I got back and started to talk about it, people have been really positive about it and really generous too.

“I just thought it was such a simple way to maybe make a contribution that will be meaningful in an ongoing way.”

ChildFund Australia chief executive Nigel Spence said Ms Cox’s motorbike gift was hugely appreciated by the team in Kratie Province.

“We are so glad she had the opportunity to see how the support of donors makes such an enormous and life-changing difference to the lives of vulnerable children and their families,” he said.

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HAPPY TO HELP: Melinda Cox (left) presents a water filter at a ChildFund Australia Gifts for Good ceremony in rural Cambodia.

HAPPY TO HELP: Melinda Cox (left) presents a water filter at a ChildFund Australia Gifts for Good ceremony in rural Cambodia.