When the Shoe Fits: Trendy Footwear Donated by CCF

The phone call came unexpectedly. It was Ms. Len Hem, the volunteer partnership and donor relations coordinator at Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF), Cambodia’s largest NGO dedicated to children’s welfare. One of their corporate sponsors, the fashion brand Vans, had gifted them a large number of sneakers, more than CCF could use. Would Little Hearts kids be interested in wearing some stylish Vans shoes? Bjorn nearly fell out of his chair.

No sooner said than done, a list of every child’s gender and shoe size was prepared and sent over to CCF. A few days later, Bjorn and Billy, our trusted tut tuk driver, drove across the river to Phnom Penh’s Steung Meancheay district to pick up the precious load of footwear. While they were there, they not only took in CCF’s vast warehouse, packed floor to ceiling with supplies donated by overseas donors – dry foods, sundries, clothing, stationery and much more – but also got a tour of CCF’s impressive facilities, including their education centre, clinic and some of the houses they’ve built in the neighbourhood.

CCF was founded in 2004 by former Hollywood executive Scott Neeson. Like Tony, Scott visited Cambodia many years ago and was struck by the stark poverty he witnessed here, especially the plight of the hundreds of children who searched for food scraps and recyclables in the unhealthiest and most dehumanising of environments – the municipal dump located in Steung Meancheay. He started CCF to support some of these children, and since then the organisation has grown into an extensive operation that caters to the needs of thousands of children and their families.

CCF now runs a nursery where working parents can leave their children during the day, a kindergarten and a secondary school (primary school children attend a government school in the morning, but still receive additional classes at CCF in the afternoon). CCF’s educational endeavours are complemented by a free medical clinic open to all community members and various scholarship and leadership programs. In partnership with World Housing, CCF has also built hundreds of compact, solar-powered stilt houses for local families who are committed to giving their children an education and a better future.

Awed and energised by his meeting with Len, Bjorn returned to Little Hearts with 35 pairs of stylish Vans shoes as well as 35 branded T-shirts. These goods were distributed to the kids a day later and were received with much gratitude and enthusiasm. Bjorn, however, felt a bit foolish that he hadn’t asked for a pair for himself!

Thank you, CCF, for thinking of us. We hope to reciprocate your generosity in the near future and to collaborate with you whenever possible.


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