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Posted: 1 maart 2011

SOID board

The Board of SOID has been set up by a group of sponsors of SOID in consultation with SOID’s Director, Mr. Sok Vanna. The main tasks of the Board include the following ones:

  • To provide guidance and control to the SOID Director
  • To decide on matters exceeding the agreed authority levels of the SOID Director

For SOID’s Director, authority levels and decisions requiring prior approval by the Board have been agreed upon between Board and Director. The Director provides written monthly and quarterly reports to the Board.

Currently, the Board is composed of the members presented below.

Wim and Gertie, Sittard - Netherlands

gertie gertie

We are Wim and Gertie Dohmen. We are Dutch and we live in The Netherlands.

In 2002 we visited Siem Reap for the first time to see the famous Angkor Wat temples. The temples turned out to be very special and impressive. However, what also left us with an imperishable impression are the terrible poverty and the appalling circumstances in which a big part of the population lives. We saw persons crippled by landmines, beggars, hungry children in rags and many other cases of distress. It was hart-breaking, particularly when you saw the prosperity of the large number of western tourists. We went back home, but Gertie vowed to come back, not as a tourist but as a volunteer to do something about the misery we had seen.

A few years later we contacted a Dutchman who lives in Siem Reap. Initially he proposed that we could do volunteer work in an orphanage in Phnom Penh, but that plan did not go through. Instead he introduced us to Mr. Sok Vanna, the director of SOID, in Siem Reap in January 2008. At that time we have taught English for three weeks at SOID's school and we have provided financial support. From that moment on, we have returned every year to do to something for SOID. We have seen how SOID has developed and how the number of people that provide financial support has increased.

We want to do our best to make sure that SOID will be able to continue in the interest of a substantial number of Cambodian children. Apart from our yearly visit to SOID in Siem Reap, we maintain contacts with sponsors mainly in The Netherlands and we try to interest other persons to become a sponsor of SOID.

Martine and Jaak, Belgium


After fallen in love with Asia on trips to Thailand, Laos and Myanmar we decide to make a trip to Cambodia in 2008. Yes, of course Angkor What is amazing but those children in that little school were spectacular !! On previous trips we learned that toys and school material are very much appreciated, so we collected a lot of those things. But this time we were looking for something we could support and follow up, doing something for people who need it. André Ruys, a Dutchman who lives in Cambodia introduced us to Mr. Sok Vanna. From that moment SOID is a part of our lives. So we started to support Mr. Vanna, first on a small scale but this changed over the years. Now we are very committed to SOID and every year we go to visit "our children". Martine (49) is a schoolteacher and Jaak (54) works in a small software company. Jaak is also running the website, so don't hesitate to notify Jaak when you experience some kind of problem or when you have a great idea for the website - all help is welcome.

Chris Wills - United Kingdom


Chris Wills is on Soid's board of sponsors, sponsoring together with his wife Helen one of the orphans, a boy called Pania.

Chris heard about the great work that Soid was doing from fellow backpackers when travelling in Cambodia in 2008. Although on career breaks from jobs as a TV producer and journalist, Helen had previously worked in Japan as an English teacher after gaining her English degree. Chris had never done any teaching and was a bit reluctant, but he agreed to step up to the whiteboard because Helen had supported his passion of volunteering to help animals in China. They planned to stay at Soid for one week, which became two, and they loved it so much they stayed until their visas ran out two months later! It was a revelationary experience for both of them and they fell in love with the bright smiles, cheeky behaviour and desire to learn of Cambodian kids.

Chris and Helen live on the Warwickshire/West Midlands border in the UK, near Solihull, and continue their careers on a freelance basis. They've recently set up a company doing dog walking and house sitting called Animal Kind and Chris is practicing to become a dog trainer.

Kristien Verheyden, Belgium


My name is Kristien Verheyden. I live and work in Leuven, Belgium. My first contact with SOID was by Jaak and Martine. TIn the mean team I visited SOID in Siem Reap two times. In March 2012 and in March 2013.

It was both times a complete overwhelming experience. Not only by the beautifull temples but surely by the kids. Smiling faces, kids who are happy that they can go to school, an enthusiastic director… You should really travel to Cambodia to see and feel it.

After I help a little for fundraising and doing presentations I decide to become a member of the board. Hopefully I can help to make SOID a success.

Tammy Durand - Canada


My name is Tammy Durand; I was born and raised in Northern Ontario, and currently reside in Siem Reap Cambodia.

In June of 2009 I was fortunate enough to do some traveling in South East Asia. I was promptly shown the harsh reality of poverty, and corruption.

When in Siem Reap , Cambodia I met an amazing man named Mr. Sok Vanna. Vanna was once a monk, but has since left that calling in response to a much greater one. He started S.O.I.D (Supporting the Orphan and Indigent People of Cambodia for Development). After meeting with Vanna and the children I dropped out of my cushy tourist group and found myself teaching English and working with the orphans through SOID as a volunteer. This experience forever changed me; re-invented if you will. I have since returned to Canada to brain storm, and fundraise. I then decided to return to Cambodia and to make it my home.

I work with various NGOs and also as a teacher at an International school Working on occasion with Mr. Vanna, here, I do my best keep supporters posted on the many improvements being made. We have all discovered that what is so little to us, can forever change the life of a child here in Cambodia. With a little help, time, energy, ideas, and donations WE can provide HOPE to these previously forgotten children. Being a part of the board of SOID is a real honor for me, and an opportunity to give back by showing my love and support to the children, and dedicated staff at S.O.I.D. I have received an amazing gift of love and life lessons here, and I treasure every moment of my life in Cambodia.

Lisa Marcantonio - United Kingdom


My name is Lisa and I'm really delighted to be a member of this fantastic Board.

I'm a primary school teacher from England. I taught 5 to 8 year olds in England for three years followed by teaching 5 to 11 year olds in an international school in Dubai for three years. My passion is teaching young children and I love working with children from different cultures and backgrounds from all over the world.

I first came to SOID in november 2013 and volunteered there for 6 weeks. Within my first few days I knew it would be a place I would continue to support and visit throughout my life. I was so impressed by the great work that was going on and with such limited resources and supplies. In those 6 weeks, I worked a lot with the teachers to guide and support them in teaching the children phonics which would help their English skills.

I returned to SOID for another two months in April 2014 with the aim of helping to develop the teaching and learning. I raised a lot of money through the kind generosity of my family, friends and local schools and businesses in my home town and with the money, I bought many much needed teaching resources and books plus a brand new interactive digital teaching scheme to teach the whole school English.

SOID has a special place in my heart and I'm desperately trying to plan when I can get back to visit the wonderful children and the staff that I now call my friends.