In a little over a week the entire partner group and a number of other senior leaders from Grant Thornton Australia are stepping out of our business for a week to work with a disadvantaged community in Cambodia. I'm immensely proud that we have made this significant commitment to doing more than just building our own business. We will not only be building houses but building futures for 10 very poor families.
Having travelled to Nepal, Peru, Tanzania and Zambia with charity groups over the last 10 years, I have some idea of the amazing and life changing experience we are about undertake but I was brought to tears today when I first read the details of the family for whom my team will be building a home and, in particular, the following quote from the 47 year old widow, who has HIV and is supporting her three children alone:
When she thinks about what the new home will mean to her family, tears fill her eyes. She says, “My dream, my wish, is to have a secure shelter so my children can study. Nothing can compare to this new home. I hope it is a safe place that is close to a market. In my life now, I sometimes feel like I just keep living for the sake of my children. I am so tired and I am often sick. If I can stop collecting recycling and begin selling in the market instead, I will not feel so tired all the time. I feel like I have been born again!”
In July I will be volunteering, along with some 140 of my fellow Grant Thornton Australia partners, as part of a community build with Habitat for Humanity Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that was established to provide housing for low income families. Habitat for Humanity has built and repaired over 800,000 homes to date, as well as providing clean water and sanitation, livelihood training and education for those families. As part of this Grant Thornton team, I am taking part in a life changing experience to build houses in Phnom Penh, making a tangible difference to families in disadvantaged communities. This is a courageous and unique endeavour for our firm and it will demonstrate what we as a Partner group can achieve for a community in need.