Koky Saly | RMIT University

The Cambodian Civil War started in 1976. My beginning of life was in prison with my
mother. The shackles on her ankles and her wrists,
the steel bars, the guns, the walls, the grenades and the bombs had nothing on her imagination. I think I’m the important part of my beginning
in life is how it’s shaped me. I landed as a three year old refugee with
my whole family. My upbringing was quite magical. I had the best siblings to explore Melbourne
with. Then I went to study media arts at RMIT majoring
in photography. I think there’s a lot of good things about
RMIT. It’s lessons learned not within the classroom
but outside of the classroom. Education has always been something that I’ve
highly valued so I thought if more kids in Cambodia could have access to quality education
then that would allow them to lift themselves out of poverty. I decided that the only thing that I really
felt that I was going to make a difference was to literally get into Cambodia and help
rebuild the country. So I started a charity in 2006. We actually raised close to half a million
dollars in the eight year span. We looked out into the world and we saw all
these businesses that were appeared to be making profits. We thought why can’t we be one of them? Why can’t we create a business and then use
the profits to support the schools? 2011, 2012 is when I kind of started really
thinking about it with my sister and we kind of did logos and all those things. I researched and that’s when she was diagnosed
with cancer. She fought for eighteen months. I was kind of thrust afterwords into the darkest
period of my life. I feel like she reached across from her side
onto my side of the world and saved my life. I won’t give up on this promise no matter
what happens. At the moment we do sell bags and bag accessories
as a beginning. But our product range will expand into other
things. Eighteen months as a business and three tons
of fabric and clothing waste upcycled now. We’ve funded over 1300 places for kids. The power to change the world sits inside
every single person’s heart. Have the audacity to use your imagination
and command it with your heart because that’s where all the answers are.


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