Creating change in communities is a long and hard process, which has to start from within. This is one of the many reasons Rotary Clubs can have such a positive impact within their own community. But how can we create change abroad and keep the local families, whose lives are touched by a philanthropist's international outreach involved in the changemaking process?
This was the first challenge that fellow Pasadena Rotarian Pierre H. Mainguy encountered when, at age 23, he was given the opportunity to help Cambodian villagers move themselves out of poverty, thanks to Rotarian John Whaley. Fresh out of business school at the time, Pierre left his job as Financial Analyst in Private Equity at Stonnington Investments in Downtown LA, as well as the comforts of his Pasadena life.
With $10,000 in cash in one pocket, and a one-way ticket to Cambodia in the other, he was tasked with creating local and sustainable solutions to the global problems of poverty. This mission ultimately became Community First, a non-profit whose purpose is to connect changemakers to create such solutions.
This is how, under Diana Peterson-More's leadership, and Mel Cohen's Presidency, our very own Pasadena Rotary Club change-makers got to connect with the people of Sen Sok in rural Cambodia, where access to water was near to non-existent. By joining forces together, Rotarians and villagers were able to create a 16-village wide public water-works infrastructure, giving all 10,000 residents access to clean and safe drinking water and enabling them to farm year-round.
Today, Community First begins a new journey which will focus on "life after the well." Join us on Wednesday when Pierre will share his experiences in Cambodia and tell us what's next for the people of Sen Sok. He will also address how our Rotaract Club and our local schools will join the fight against poverty in both Sen Sok and our own community, through the magic of aquaponics and botanical crafts.