Brian Dechant, 63, a Canadian national and retired hotel executive who lived in Asia for 25 years, has been sponsoring CCF student Lina since 2014. It’s a special relationship that he treasures and here he explains why


I first came to know of the Cambodian Children’s Fund in the Spring of 2014 by happy coincidence.

Switching channels late one evening in Shanghai, where I worked at the time, I came across a TV episode of “Poh’s Kitchen Lends a Hand” – Cambodia, which visited CCF.
This compelling presentation of the Cambodian Children’s Fund led me to Google the CCF website where I was similarly touched by a second video originally broadcast by PBS News – “Scott Neeson & Cambodian Children’s Fund 2008”.

I recommend anyone to view these two remarkable videos and also a third video “Australian Story: Scott Neeson”.

These short documentaries really touched me and ultimately inspired my decision to sponsor a CCF child in April 2014.

Lina was eight years old when my sponsorship commenced.

It has been incredibly satisfying to exchange e-mails and photos with Lina over the past four years. Lina always keeps me up-to-date on her school activities and other milestones in her young life (like the birth of her baby brother last year).

Lina sent me a beautiful drawing of hers several years ago, together with a photo she had taken with “Papa Scott” after being awarded a prize for “2nd Most Improved Student” in her English class.

These are especially precious mementos of my sponsorship journey to date – now framed and on prominent display!

Over this past New Year’s I visited Phnom Penh for the first time to see CCF up close – and of course to meet Lina and her mom (and baby brother) in person.

It was a very moving experience to be able to witness first-hand the positive and promising impact CCF is having on the lives of so many.

The haunting and horrific landfill – where children scavenged through garbage – featured in those initial videos I had viewed has been permanently bulldozed away.

The brand new, ultra-modern Neeson-Cripps Academy now dominates the landscape of the Steung Meanchey community.

Sponsorship of Lina has certainly enriched my life.
I feel blessed and honoured to know Lina and her family – and I am convinced that Lina’s future, like those of all CCF children, will be forever filled with new promise, opportunity, and so much joy.

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