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By JESSE GRAHAM

YARRA Valley women banded together to raise thousands for disadvantaged families in Cambodia last month, as part of a 10-day retreat.
The 12 Yarra Valley women embarked on their trip to Cambodia from 7-17 July, which was organised by personal trainer, Michelle Redman.
Though the trip contained yoga and meditation, massages and treatments, the attendees were all required to raise at least $200 to undertake compassion work in Siem Reap.
Attendee, Karen Meuleman, said in an email that the group of women raised almost $10,000 – much more than their minimum $2400 – which was disbursed to different community projects.
Some of these projects included building flood-proof housing for a family, buying and assembling six wheelchairs for landmine victims and providing resources for 50 children to attend summer school.
Ms Meuleman said that Ms Redman “worked tirelessly” to put the retreat together, in partnership with Cambodian Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).
“She made sure that we all had an experience, rather than just a holiday, with a range of diverse activities that took us out of our comfort zone at times,” she said.
“For me, it was a wonderful feeling to know that while we were having a fantastic time in a luxurious environment, we were also ensuring that our visit had a positive impact for the Cambodian people.”
She said that a highlight was to work with the local people and learn about their lives, and that all of the work undertaken was done with the aim of helping make “positive long-term outcomes.”

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