Apr 25th, 2024 04/25/24 | Community Stories

Giving Back Four Ways

Aidan and Fiona O'Meara sponsor four girls in Cambodia, giving them the chance of a bright future with CCF

A successful auction bid to win a trip to the Cambodian Children’s Fund in Phnom Penh in 2014 was the catalyst for Aidan and Fiona O’Meara’s decision to sponsor four children living in one of the most impoverished communities in Cambodia.

Ten years later, they are still sponsoring four students, all girls, and remain as committed as ever.

The age range of their sponsored girls is 13 to 21. The youngest was sponsored in 2022 to replace one of the original students who dropped out of school.

In their own words, Aidan and Fiona speak about their sponsor journey and the joy of making a difference.

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We are both originally from Ireland but have spent most of our married life living and working overseas. This included time in the UK, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. We have three adult children (David, Katie, and Ronan) who have been an important part of our adventures while growing up, mainly in Belgium and Hong Kong, and eventually went to college in the UK and Ireland. Aidan has spent most of his career in general management in the apparel, footwear, and retail business, with Fiona managing the household

We were introduced to CCF by a work colleague in Hong Kong, where we attended a CCF charity ball in 2014. We were immediately captivated by Scott [Neeson, the founder of CCF] and the students he brought with him to tell their stories and the huge difference that CCF had made to their lives.

On the night, we successfully bid for a trip to Phnom Penh to meet Scott and the team and see the work of CCF firsthand. That trip had a profound impact on all of us. We visited families around the dump with Scott. We saw the conditions in which many lived, which was humbling, but then had the opportunity to visit the various CCF facilities where the amazing work of the team was immediately evident and where we were enthusiastically greeted everywhere by happy, healthy children whose lives and prospects, as well as those of their families, were being transformed. We immediately committed to doing whatever we could to help enable this amazing work.

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Being directly and personally connected with some of them and being able to follow their progress was and is very appealing to us

— Aidan and Fiona O'Meara

The biggest takeaway from a visit to CCF is the sight of happy, smiling, and very friendly kids. Being directly and personally connected with some of them and being able to follow their progress was and is very appealing to us. We also realised that their sponsors are very important to them emotionally. They value the connection at least as much as we do and are typically very proud of their sponsors.

We wanted each of our children to feel connected to our sponsored kids, and we wanted to feel likewise ourselves, so we decided we would directly support four. We also wanted to do as much as we could.

At the time we visited, we asked Scott which of the children would most benefit from our sponsorship, and he suggested three of the girls. The other was a new arrival at one of the centres we visited who had come from a very troubled background and seemed to be struggling with integrating into her new surroundings. We wanted to support and root for her; seeing her development in the succeeding years was great and very rewarding.

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Sponsoring has been an incredibly rewarding experience

— Aidan and Fiona O'Meara

Sreychy has benefited from the O'Meara's encouragement to pursue her passion for football.

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She won a Player of the Year award.

Sponsoring has been an incredibly rewarding experience. We have always felt very connected to the four girls, and seeing them grow up and thrive is the best thing we have ever been a part of.
We think what matters most to them is knowing that we love them and are rooting for them. The emotional connection is at least as valuable as any tangible support we provide.

The human connection with the girls is what we value most, as well as sharing our good fortune and making a difference for some who have not been as lucky in life as we have. We certainly think of them as family and take great pride in their development and accomplishments.

The O'Mearas have sponsored Thavy for 10 years.


She's just graduated from high school.

A highlight of our trip to CCF [in 2018) was the opportunity to go for a meal and some shopping with the girls. Some new clothes, fried chicken, ice cream, and durian (an acquired taste!) are always highlights, and we’ll never forget the sheer joy of their first-ever visit to a shopping centre with their CCF chaperone and us; it is truly amazing to see kids marvel at things, like escalators, that we take completely for granted.

We e look forward to going again as we have yet to meet our newest sponsored child, Chantha, whom we are very excited about.

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The O'Mearas on their trip to Cambodia
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We would encourage anyone to sponsor a child

— Aidan and Fiona O'Meara

What impresses us most is the professionalism of CCF and the very thoughtful ecosystem they have built, which ensures that almost all the money raised is put to productive use in improving lives and creating a virtuous cycle where children’s education is enabled by incentivising their families through providing food and healthcare, while the kids will, in time, be able to support their families and break out from the poverty trap.

We would encourage anyone to sponsor a child. You’ll get at least as much from it as you put in and it is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. You can have complete confidence that every penny you contribute will be spent well and will make a big difference.

Written by

Kate Ginn

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