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The story of Who Will

By: Georgie Walsh Posted: August-12-2009 in
Georgie Walsh

In late 2007 via a phone call to miss leading number one women contacted me in Phnom Penh. We arranged to meet, I had expected a photographer and she had expected that I was the person running an orphanage she had visited. After enquiring about the photographs she replied, “I don’t take pictures that are depressing, I didn’t take any.” So why was she meeting with me? After further investigation and conversation it became apparent that she got my number from a Tuk-Tuk driver I had used and he had told her, Jane, to contact me.
We became friends instantly and talked in depth about Cambodia, the poverty, the children and what we could do to help. We had both tried volunteering but the conditions and corruption was server and meant that any work we did may not have any positive outcomes, only line the pockets of those that already have more than enough. In a discussion between Jane and myself we decided it was best we start our own NGO and chose to name it Who Will after a poem written by an eight year old girl, Chloe Westley.
WHO WILL:
Who will help the needy in desperate times of war,
Who will shed a tear for the ones who are no more,
Who will feed the hungry they cannot feed themselves,
Who will keep the secret for Santa and his elves,
Who will cry for the little boy who died of leprosy,
Who will cure the humans who are blind and cannot see,
Who will help the children who have no family of their
own,
Who will keep the promise to share the kingdom throne,
Who will, I will, I can make a difference,
to you I am just a little girl but to me a little princes

We had no money, no contacts, no experience but we shared the dream of making a better tomorrow for the children of Cambodia.

Jane networked to find decent people genuinely interested in helping the children of Cambodia with out any other motives and after much distress she met with Gerald Trevor who donated two hectares of land to the cause and dedicated his time, not only assisting with the legal battles of starting ones own NGO but also became the chairman for Who Will.
Who Will became a formed and registered charity in April 2008. But what next? The charity still had nothing, only land with no water well or electricity. The people involved with Who Will were not willing to sit around and do nothing waiting for money to come from nowhere so the decision was made to create a soup kitchen that would feed the hungry children and families of Phnom Penh. Who Will rented a small house in the outskirts of the city, our Cambodian friends sent the word around and the children came. They asked if they could stay as their own families were to poor to care for them, mothers who heard of a new NGO operating in the town asked for jobs. How could we refuse them? Almost overnight the soup kitchen turned into an orphanage. This was the beginning.

Jane wrote a brief account of what Who Will was doing and this was sent out to families and friends. People responded and wanted to help, some held small fundraising events. Who Will then had enough money to ensure all the children were fed decently and attending school. A young Cambodian was hired to teach the children English. More people heard about the cause and contacted Jane and Gerald asking ways that they could help build the children’s village, after returning from London Gerald raised enough money to secure the funding for one house on the land purchased and building began.

Today the Who Will children’s village cares for more 15 children with new arrivals they cannot turn away appearing every day. The children’s village now has two homes with plans to expand as funding increases. It also has a Fishing project and plans to build a school. All of these projects including the children’s village depend on future funding. Jane says, “It can only be miracles because I have no idea how we are doing this. Someone asked me today do we know where the next money is coming from. My answer is NO and there are days that 'blind panic' would almost adequately describe the mood of the moment. But, we just keep moving forward”

Who Will is a small charity but dedicated and all staff except for the local Cambodians are unpaid volunteers who want to make a difference and bring a brighter future to the children left over from the killing fields and are willing to sacrifice their own lifestyle for this cause.

Many of the pictures you see here are taken by the children and available to purchase as prints. Jane says, ”Whenever I am with the children I give them my camera and off they go. I love downloading the photos in the evening to see what they have come up with. Some of them are really stunning.“

To find out more about Who Will and ways you can help visit www.who-will.org

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