1- In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you?
I work tirelessly to help others: from running my foundation in Cambodia to working with animals and protecting the environment on the island of Koh Samui, in Thailand.
2- What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
Born in South Africa during Apartheid, I was taught to be very liberal and to look at people from the inside out. We are all basically the same human beings and should be treated equally. I still struggle with the concepts of racism, of not telling the truth, of stealing, and of not treating people with dignity. I am straightforward and use my voice to be direct and stand up for others who do not have a voice.
3- Why did you choose this field? Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are?
My parents were my role models, especially my father, who was a prisoner of war in a German camp for four years during World War II. Everyone is equal and has a heart and feelings. I live by the golden rule: do not harm anyone and give of yourself, not just money.
4- What is your legacy? Do you care about leaving a legacy?
One of my legacies is the Cambodian Community Dream Organization, which has built more than 1,500 water wells and 600 latrines and has 11,000 kids in 24 schools and 13 preschools. It has more than 50 scholarship kids in high school and university and takes care of 129,000 people in 86 villages. I don’t care about my legacy, but I do care about the peoples whose lives I can enrich and improve.
5- What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
The more random acts of kindness that you do, the more other people will start doing random acts of kindness—it has a ripple effect. You cannot buy the feeling you get from giving and helping others. It can be a kind word or a smile or holding the door open or giving up your place in a queue to getting involved and helping fight for a cause. People need to connect and have a community of spirit.
6- In less than a minute, without sounding like a used car salesperson, tell us where to find you and what is the next big thing that everyone should be anticipating from you?
I am to be found in the background, giving advice and monitoring that all is well with many of the projects on which I am working: feeding the unemployed in Koh Samui, helping the island to become self-sustainable, feeding street dogs, promoting zero-mile farms that produce organic vegetables and fish. The next big project is the publication of my long-awaited book.
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