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Jamie and Savy



To My Wonderful Orange Family,

I am writing to tell you that after the most amazing twenty-one years, I am stepping down as CEO of Caring for Cambodia. Whew! That was hard.  Being from Texas, I am used to tough things and proud to say I am passing the reins to the next generation of pacesetters. I know they will lead us down uncharted trails, keeping CFC steady on those we have already blazed.

More than two decades ago. That first “orange” moment came to me in the form of bright orange robes on five monks walking across the gardens at Angkor Wat. Little Srelyn came to me asking for a dollar. She then brought me to Kraavan, her school. A dilapidated one-room building filled with 80 children, waiting for a teacher who never showed up. If I had to pick one pivotal moment for CFC and for me during the last two decades, my entering that schoolroom filled with dozens of impoverished Cambodian children who wanted to learn would be it. From that instant, it was clear that I could do something…I didn’t know what, but I somehow knew. Years later I would describe it as being graced with orange.

Today, as I sit staring into the distance, my heart and mind are flooded with CFC memories. Remembering my entire home in Singapore filled with donations of clothing, medicine, toothbrushes and school supplies for the Kraavan students makes me smile. Seeing photos of ribbon-cuttings, Buddhist blessings, and the release of doves for the inauguration of a new school makes me bask in gratitude. And the children, always the children, their smiling faces are glued to my heart.

I always think of the people who have been touched by orange and stepped forward. Beginning with my comrade-in-arms, Ung Savy, CFC’s Superintendent of Schools. In those early years, it was about building trust, starting with each other. He had no idea if this crazy blond-hair lady would ever show up again; or on my end, if the money we were sending him would, in fact, go toward building a new school. But almost immediately, we believed in the same vision and in each other, and soon we stood as one, building trust with the teachers, the communities, and the government.

And then there are, of course, our dedicated Board members, past and present; our volunteers who have helped keep our schools running -- training teachers, providing dental and eye exams, building houses, painting classrooms, spending time with our students, and contributing tens of thousands of dollars for daily breakfasts and lunches, clean water, a science center, libraries, robotics, IT labs, and our gender equality and career preparation programs. The list goes on~ I am also thinking of our teachers and administrators…. The heart of CFC. Their unwavering dedication and commitment continue to make CFC schools the model for the entire country.

I must give a shout-out to my staff, especially Kimberly Gibson, Natalie Bastow and Bryan Morytko, previous Execs and Directors of Operations, they like me for so long woke up every morning with CFC as the first thing on their mind.

And finally, and most of all, I want to thank my family, my beautiful family, who grew up with CFC and with a mother who bathed them in orange. I am so proud of you…my children who have grown into caring and giving adults. My friends.. thank you.  My loves.  All of you. ES

To all I say, saum arkoun…thank you from the deepest place of my soul for all you have done for the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian children who have passed through our portals; for their families and communities; and for changing the educational system of a nation. Thank you for giving me this gift of giving. And finally, thank you for allowing me to ride into the sunset, knowing that CFC is in good hands.

Saum Arkoun.




Caring for Cambodia
12400 W Hwy. 71, Ste. 350-193 | Austin, Texas  78738
+1 512-944-7639 | info@caringforcambodia.org

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