Unlikely Volunteers Unsung Heroes

Photo of author

(Newswire.net — June 27, 2014) Sydney, NSW — Cambodia’s tragic past and struggle to recover has attracted a diverse range of people, from all over the world, to come and help as volunteers. Many visit as tourists and are so compelled to help that they never leave or, like Scott Neeson retun home only to quit his job, sell his house, cars, everything to move back to help kids living at a garbage dump.

 The survivors of the Pol Pot Regime were mostly under the age of 15 in 1979; everyone with any education or skills had been murdered during the 3 years prior. No teachers, no infrastructure, no clean drinking water or health care. But help did arrive. Ordinary people have stepped up to lend a hand and their stories are as fascinating as they are instructive.

 ‘Unsung Heroes Cambodia: People and Projects Making A Difference‘ celebrates these volunteers.

 Drawn from the range of Non Governemental Organization (NGO) work that has been done since the borders opened in the 1990s the book provides insight in what it takes to build a country, a society, from virtually nothing. From basic human needs of food, shelter, water and healthcare, education, sustainable business to protecting the environment, wildlife, human rights and developing the arts and culture.

 “The human instinct to help is one of our greatest qualities,” says founder and co-author Lee Anderson. “Yet we kept hearing the same mistakes, the same frustrations from so many volunteers interviewed as part of this project.” Many stories reveal the truth about NGOs; where they went wrong, how they made it right. 

 “Simply by reading about these experiences you become aware of the pitfalls and guarantee that you will be a better volunteer – whether you want to go to Cambodia or Africa or around the corner from your house.”

 How a college student on plane read a memoire that opened her eyes to trafficking and started a new wave of social activism to a high-end boutique store owner that rescued the dying art of silk weaving, these stories inspire. It’s an armchair trip with beautiful photography of Cambodia, a brief history and an insightful perspective on what has been done over the last 25 years to help, and what still needs to be done.

 For those wanting to volunteer, this book provides excellent contacts as well as practical tips and things you wish you knew before you left home. 

  • How giving change to begging children might sentence them to a lifetime of poverty
  • Orpahanges are not tourist attractions
  • How to tell a good NGO from a scam 

 But the fact that this book is a not-for-profit and benefits the 40 NGOs featured in it is perhaps the icing on the cake that has made it the #3 Best Seller in its category on Amazon this week. Published in June 2013 ‘Unsung Heroes Cambodia‘ by Lee Anderson, Kerryan Griffin and Shawna Hartley has recently been voted a Best Book for Volunteers (according to a survey of international volunteers) as well as The Best Book on Volunteering in Cambodia.

 For inexperienced authors (also volunteers) to achieve this result without a publisher is remarkable. Anderson claims “It’s a book of inspiration. Give it to someone who needs inspiration. However unlikely you think it is, you will become a hero in the process. That good deed will amplify as it spreads across the world to Cambodia.”

While the initial print run is close to selling out, the authors are hoping for a second printing. Interested publishers, knights in shining armour or corporations seeking good karma should contact info@unsungheroes.net.au. 

About Unsung Heroes

Celebrating the Unsung Heroes that have been helping Cambodia recover from the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.   ‘Unsung Heroes Cambodia: People and Projects Making A DIfference’ is a Not-For-Profit book… About Volunteers, For Volunteers and By Volunteers.   Available on Amazon.com and www.unsungheroes.net.au

Unsung Heroes

1106/81 Macleay Street
Sydney, NSW United States 2011

02 4997 3166