Feb 9th, 2024 02/09/24 | Community Stories

Educating Theara

With the power of sponsorship and her professional skill set, Yvonne hopes to help a girl in Cambodian through school

As a keen traveller, Yvonne Scurrah has a list of places to visit and Cambodia has become a must-see destination in the next couple of years.

Yvonne from the UK now has one very good reason to make the 6,238 miles (10,040 kilometre) trip - to meet Theara, the little girl she is sponsoring through Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF).

Travelling to a country to see a child whose life you are helping change will make it particularly special.

”I have never been to Cambodia but it’s definitely somewhere I’d like to get to in the next couple of years. I’d love to go and meet Theara,” says Yvonne.

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Yvonne would love to travel to Cambodia and meet Theara

Yvonne heard about CCF through a friend who works with the organisation’s UK office. Her involvement started with a regular donation but it was always in the back of her mind to sponsor a child.

In June 2023, she made the commitment to support Theara, aged eight.

“I started initially with just a monthly donation but I’d always said I’d want to sponsor. I don’t have kids myself, I’m very privileged that I’ve got a good job and a nice life, so I guess for me it’s a little bit of giving back somewhere,” says Yvonne, 52.

Yvonne Scurrah
Yvonne committed to sponsoring as a way of giving back
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I can be there to offer some sort of female sponsorship support

— Yvonne Scurrah
Learn more about how CCF’s Child Sponsorship Program works and why people all around the globe highly rate the experience to help.

With a successful career—over 30 years with HSBC Bank in financial services and the past two as a Program Manager for a property management and real estate company—Yvonne hopes to use her experience to offer mentorship and support to Theara when she’s older.

“I’m involved in women’s development networks at work, and I always have been; part of where I got to in my career was through having women's sponsorship. So I am keen to give back,” says Yvonne.

“I am more than happy to do anything to help in whatever way I can. We haven’t discussed what I can do mentoring-wise, and it’s still very early days in the sponsorship. But hopefully, as she progresses, I can be there to offer some female sponsorship support.”

Yvonne is in for the long haul - she’s factored continuing the sponsorship into her retirement plans - and is looking forward to building bonds with Theara and the country she calls home.

“I’d like to be able to sponsor her to get through school. I know I can step away at any time, but I don’t want to,” she says.

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I like that Yvonne is my sponsor, she shows me love like a daughter

— CCF Theara, aged 8

Theara, who is studying at a CCF primary school, also loves having a sponsor in her life. Yvonne’s sponsorship is contributing to her education, care and enabling her to escape poverty.

“I like that Yvonne is my sponsor, she shows me love like a daughter,” she says.

“She helps provide a school uniform and bag for me, and wants me to do well at school.”

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L: TOP: Theara feels the support of Yvonne is helping her school studies

Their relationship is growing through the regular emails exchanged about their lives and updates from Theara’s progress in Cambodia. There are also opportunities for video call and visits, a level of engagement unique to CCF’s Sponsorship Program.

Connecting with a child and community in need in another country is also important to Yvonne.

“For me, it’s about having a more detailed awareness of another culture and a greater understanding of the country,” she says.

”It’s very exciting and it’s lovely getting the emails [from Theara] and seeing the pictures and videos of her. I have shared some photos. She’s quite young at the minute, so it’s building that [relationship] up.”

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Yvonne hopes to provide mentorship to Theara when she’s older
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I think CCF is a fantastic charity and I’m very happy to be involved in it

— Yvonne Scurrah, CCF sponsor

Back in the UK, Yvonne gives to other charities but says there was something about CCF that stood out to her.

“I like the way it keeps the community together, so it’s inclusive, getting the grandmothers involved and all of that, it just feels like a homely thing.”

There are other ways she’d like to get involved with CCF in a more hands-on practical way, such as volunteering on the ground in Cambodia in the future where her professional skills and experience could make a big impact.

She has words for advice too for anyone considering sponsoring a child through CCF.

“I talked about it for a long time before I actually did it. The biggest thought was what it was going to mean to me financially. It is a commitment but it’s something that I’m looking to factor in when I retire,” says Yvonne.

“If anybody can do it, the appreciation, the emails and updates you get, you can tell they are really heartfelt. It’s such a worthwhile cause when you actually see the kids that do get to university. It’s not just pulling them out of poverty but it pulls the whole family out.

”I think it’s a fantastic charity and I’m very happy to be involved in it.”

Learn more about how CCF’s Child Sponsorship Program works and why people all around the globe highly rate the experience to help.
Written by

Kate Ginn


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