Building Brighter Futures Foundation (BBFF) was founded in February 2013 by sisters, Kris and Sue and their families.
With a wish to help those less fortunate in the world, Kris and her partner, Geoffrey, began sponsoring several children in 2010 through an existing charity in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. When visiting Cambodia for the first time in early 2011, they observed first hand the reality of the struggles faced by many around the country and this strengthened their desire to help children more broadly to access education and improve their living situations.
Over the next couple of years, Kris and Geoffrey visited Cambodia several times, experiencing more of rural community life and learning about the entrenched poverty faced by many. What struck them both is that the people in these communities wanted to work and build good lives for their families but felt hopeless to do so because they could not access education or vocational training. They accepted their fate and resigned themselves to the thought that their children and grandchildren would follow in their footsteps, never able to escape the poverty cycle.
Kris and Geoffrey shared the various experiences from their trips with family and friends - including Sue, her husband Glen and their children, Cassie and Josh. This led, in 2012, to Kris and Geoffrey taking Josh and Cassie (then 11) to Cambodia, so they could experience and better understand how different it was to live in a developing country. The children were amazed at their good fortune in comparison with the families they met and the visit inspired in them both a desire to help, as well as a love for the country and people of Cambodia.
Phirom Som was engaged as Kris and Geoffrey's English speaking guide on their first trip to Cambodia. The trip involved visiting a number of rural and remote communities and it was clear that Phirom felt a deep concern for the plight of his people and was looking for ways to help. As Kris and Geoffrey's friendship with Phirom developed over subsequent visits, he raised with them a particular community not far from Siem Reap that he really wanted to support. Phirom was aware that there were many families living in very poor circumstances who were struggling to send their children to the community primary school. Kris and Geoffrey took these thoughts home with them.
Meanwhile, at home, Josh and Cassie kept wondering what could be done to help the children in Cambodia. After a number of discussions between Kris and Sue and their families, the plan to establish a charitable organisation that would allow funds to be directed to specific projects was born. Hence, Building Brighter Futures Foundation came into being in 2013. Kris, Sue, Geoffrey and Glen are Directors, Cassie and Josh are Honorary Junior Directors and Phirom is our very able In-Country Coordinator working directly with the communities we support.
BBFF has been established on a voluntary basis in order for us to maintain control of the projects we support and to ensure that donations are fully utilised on the ground. We have recently extended our support to a second community in Cambodia and hope, in time, to be in a position to broaden our focus to other communities needing similar support around the world.