Bethanie staff return from building houses in Cambodia

The Bethanie Team - Photo Raw Impact

Bethanie, Western Australia’s most recognised not-for-profit aged care and retirement living provider, strives to encourage meaningful social contributions amongst staff, driving activities which are not part of Bethanie’s core business but contribute greatly to the well-being of the community.

For the second year in a row, a group of 21 Bethanie staff and family members travelled to Cambodia between 10-18 July to take part in a RAW Impact project. RAW Impact is an organisation that is all about giving a voice to those who have none and creating powerful change in Cambodian villages. 

The 2019 Bethanie team made a huge impact on two different projects; Ta Skor and Ko Ki Village. In Ta Skor they worked on building bamboo homes for the ‘Every Piece Matters’ project, which will eventually see 123 families suffering real poverty moved into safe housing. The Bethanie crew completed Phase 1, with 19 bamboo homes now providing safe housing for 71 people and offering employment for 17 locals during the project. In Ko Ki Village they planted 100 bamboo plants which will be used for building future homes and in other industries.    In Ko Ki Village they planted 100 bamboo plants which will be used for building future homes and in other industries.   

The Bethanie team also had the opportunity for a village sleep out, giving them the chance to immerse themselves in Cambodian culture and way of life. 

There were 12 Bethanie staff members this year who were accompanied by nine family members, led by Bethanie Mission Manager David van Leen. Staff members brought along daughters, sons, mothers, nephews and husbands. They also got to visit a variety of tourist sites including exploring the famous Angkor Temples in Siem Riep.

Staff had to cover their own costs for fees and travel expenses and fundraise a minimum of $1,000 each which went towards resources to work on the RAW Impact project. Bethanie Mission Manager David van Leen says, “The team were excited to give back andworked hard to raise funds and gain an understanding of what they would be doing and the issues they would face while in Cambodia.”

David van Leen’s 13 year old son Ben tells why he went along this year,“I heard dad talk about the trip and thought I would like to make a positive impact on people in need, so when the opportunity came I put my hand up to go with dad, raising money with silent auctions, making relishes and chutneys and even holding a high tea for my mums friends.”

Bethanie Chief Operating Officer – Community Felicity Beaulieu tells of her experience in Cambodia, “An incredible introduction to a complex and beautiful country, full of gentle people with big hearts and smiles. I’m proud to have been a small part of a big team who accomplished something significant. The friendships and memories created will last well beyond this trip.”

Bethanie CEO Chris How adds, “As WA’s largest not-for-profit aged care and retirement living provider, we have a responsibility to give back where we can. Given the nature of our business is caring for people, our staff are typically very keen to support social contributions. I was able to attend in 2018 and the experience left a lasting impression. I’m proud of the Bethanie team that gave all of themselves into the projects and made a difference to the lives of many people suffering real poverty.”

This year’s team spanned from Bethanie Beachside in Two Rocks to Bethanie Elanora in Bunbury.