New York: Friends of Photography Auction
Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of my first visit to Cambodia. I remember the first trip like it was yesterday. Tourists were rarely seen at that time so when I set up my large camera on the causeway to the Angkor Wat, I was alone. After spending a good amount of time under my dark cloth composing a picture, I emerged to find myself surrounded by a group of children with big, curious eyes looking at me and inspecting my photography equipment. I was astonished to see some of the children were missing limbs, disfigured by landmines, and yet they were all smiling, with bright eyes, at a visitor.
I began looking into the local government hospital and soon realized that it was nearly impossible for a family to seek medical treatment if they were not wealthy. I encountered a scene of a father who, having spent all his money for the journey to the hospital and unable to pay for treatment, looked helplessly on as his little girl passed away lying in a hospital bed. That’s when I decided to build Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC), a children’s hospital, with compassionate staff that would treat every child, regardless of their financial situation.
The development of Cambodia, especially in Siem Reap, has been amazing: a quiet, ancient capital has become a popular tourist destination and Cambodians have swiftly adapted to the ever changing economy. So, too, is the progress that our staff has made since AHC opened in 1999. It started with only a handful of doctors and nurses working with several expat medical professionals teaching basic medical skills and knowledge. As AHC has gradually expanded over the years, the staff have become competent in their work, turning into excellent role models and the leaders of the next generation of Cambodia’s healthcare system.
A world-class Cambodian hospital for Cambodians by Cambodians, has always been our ultimate goal. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the phenomenal staff and volunteers at AHC, I have proudly watched the hospital grow from infancy to adolescence. I’m happy to announce that AHC is about to enter into the next phase of its life and will take a big step in 2013 toward the eventual goal of becoming an independent entity.
It is a very exciting moment.
It has been an amazing journey and it would not have been possible without the wonderful supporters of our signature event, the photo auction. This annual charity event started fifteen years ago in the Howard Greenberg Gallery, a strong partner from the beginning. Year after year, hundreds of artists have donated their work, committee members have worked hard to improve the event, and the audience has been making successful bids — all to support our cause. I cannot express to you how much it means to me to see so many caring and generous people come together to keep this dream alive, proving every year that “Art can Make a Difference.” I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for your generosity.
Founder, Friends Without A Border
15th Annual Friends of Friends Photography Auction
Benefiting Angkor Hospital for Children
December 4, 2012
123 West 18th Street, #5FL The Level,
New York, NY 10011