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A welcome note

   

Dear Oaktree Supporter,

Firstly, I want to thank you, for your commitment and contribution to Oaktree and our work.

It is truly a great honour to commence at Oaktree as CEO and join such an incredible movement, developing young people as leaders in the fight to end extreme poverty, both in Australia and overseas. With deep admiration for Oaktree's work to date, I join with immense excitement and anticipation about what is possible in the future.

I write this update having just returned from two weeks spent in Cambodia with our International Engagement team.

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing our International Engagement team in action when visiting our project partners. Oaktree’s partnership manager for our Beacon Schools Initiative (BSI) project, Kim joined Oaktree on our first ever Roadtrip as a high school student in 2005. Since then, she’s developed a strong expertise in the field, working in monitoring and evaluation for Oxfam, on top of volunteering at Oaktree.

The partnership evaluation I witnessed over the week we spent with our implementing partner KAPE was one consistent with best practice, adding great value to the work of KAPE, and to Oaktree.

It’s through your support that young leaders like Kim will continue to be equipped with the skills needed to lead the movement to end extreme poverty, and assist our partners in executing excellent, sustainable and life changing development work.

I also had the privilege of attending a meeting with Cambodia's Education Minister, Dr Hang Chuon Naron and our partner KAPE. KAPE's model of education, supported by Oaktree in the Beacon Schools Initiative, has been so successful that it has captured the Minister's attention. 

During our meeting, he outlined his plans for implementing the learnings from the KAPE model across Cambodia. The Minister's vision for policy reform, informed by KAPE and supported by Oaktree, has the potential to significantly impact the landscape of education across a country where the education system was decimated 40 years ago by the Khmer Rouge.

Currently, only 30-40% of youth receive a high school education, making KAPE's work and the Minister's commitment particularly significant. This struck home when meeting with parents involved in KAPE's education. The value they place on their children's education is immense, with one mother telling me, education is knowledge, and "knowledge cannot be stolen."  It was a humbling experience.

Back here in Melbourne, there's a huge amount going on: National Conference, finalising our planning for the year, the launch of Youth Exchange, O-Week recruitment, and kicking off Live Below the Line 2015.

It's going to be a massive couple of months, and I can’t wait to keep you in the loop about everything we’re up to!

Thank you again for your support.

Chris