Amanda Prak Sam is the founder and CEO of H.O.P.E. -Helping Others Pursue Education - and she is a Khmer Rouge genocide survivor. Her Cambodian name is actually Sokanha not Amanda which is a name a friend gave her after coming to the U.S. As a child at a very young age she was exposed to total fear, hunger, immorality and horror that pervaded Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. She was one of the lucky ones who had a second chance at living a good life in a new country.
Her life-long dream is to rebuild a school in a very rural part of Cambodia where she was born and where her father taught before they had to flee due to the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. In 2019, a new charity, Helping Others Pursue Education, was founded to build schools and to educate the poorest of poor in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse. Much progress has been made on the school but there is still much to do. “Make what change you are able to make now, and let the ‘giving spirit’ spread like a virus, infinitely touching the lives of people you may never meet…”
Amanda has owned and operated several hair salons. She lives in Henrico, Virginia with her 2 sons, Matt and Alex. Being active in the local Cambodian community she supports the New Cambodian Food Festival of Richmond. Amanda travels to Cambodia yearly to engage with the rural country side of Cambodia, bringing supplies, to the poorest of poor, visiting with families and children that attend Raing Kessey Primary School.
Cindy is tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the organization. Executing long-term and short-term organizational plans is also a key responsibility.
Most of Cindy’s career has been in operations in the aviation industry. Most recently she served as Vice President of Customer Service for IndiGo, the fastest growing low-cost carrier in the world based in Gurgaon India. Prior to that Cindy worked in various capacities at United Airlines for 30 years.
After returning from 2 years in India, Cindy and her husband Mark are retired and living in Southport NC. They both love to travel and have been to over 80 countries. They have been actively involved with three non-profit organizations in Cambodia where they have visited 30 times. Additionally, they have directly sponsored two children and enriched the lives of many others suffering from extreme poverty.
In her role with HOPE, Jill is responsible for creating and supporting fundraising ideas.
Jill’s career spanned 25 years with United Airlines in various operational and Human Resources leadership roles, allowing her extensive international travel to all corners of the world. Through her travels, Jill had the opportunity to visit Cambodia over twenty times where the culture and people left an indelible impression on her. She has directly sponsored two children with a previous Cambodian non-profit organization, as well helping to enrich the lives of multiple other children with a focus on their educational needs.
Jill and her husband Dan recently retired to Charleston, SC where they enjoy the beautiful city with its rich history, and all things water-related. They travel extensively, having collectively visited over 70 countries across six continents. When not traveling, you can find her gardening or spending quality time with their friends or golden retriever, Ruby.
Judy brings a wide array of organizational and logistics knowledge to her position. Her career spanned 30 years with a Fortune 500 company serving in various capacities that touched all aspects of wholesale distribution.
Judy brings a wide array of organizational and logistics knowledge to her position. After a trip to Battambang in 2017, she got involved with H.O.P.E. to help the children and advance the charity’s mission.
She enjoys traveling and has had the opportunity to see many different parts of the world. She also likes most sports, especially basketball and golf. Judy loves hanging out with family and friends.
Liz is a Marketing & Community expert with over ten years in the SaaS-based software space and an additional ten years advising, buying and managing high fashion accounts. Through her roles within fashion and technology there is one common theme: bringing people together. With the unbridled power of social media, Liz believes wholeheartedly that with incredible technological advances comes an unprecedented ability to help others around the globe.
She is passionate about eliminating food scarcity and providing children equal opportunity regardless of economic or social status. This passion has led Liz to Havana, Cuba to provide educational supplies while aiding in the construction of gardens and school buildings to support local children and their families. She looks forward to supporting H.O.P.E.’s mission to provide educational opportunities to children in Cambodia.
Liz resides in Charleston, SC with her husband, two children and two dogs. In her treasured free time, she enjoys reading thriller novels, spending time outdoors and serving as the Marketing Chair at her son’s school.
Judi’s career includes a decade of teaching American History and a 30 year career as VP Sales for a top 20 US travel corporation.
Throughout her life, she has traveled to Asia extensively. It wasn’t hard to fall under the spell of the Cambodian people during her first trip to Cambodia in 2007. Primarily Buddhist, even in abject poverty, the humility and loving nature are ever present.
After the first trip to Cambodia, she and her husband began sponsoring several children’s education and overall help to enrich their lives.
Today they are sponsoring a university student through Education First Cambodia and looking forward to help building more school facilities in underdeveloped rural areas of Cambodia.
Judi and Dick are now retired in Ft Myers Florida. Continuing their love of travel is taking them to experience new adventures every year.