A former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), beauty queen, actress and television host - Eunice Olsen certainly has many achievements on her list; she's also a busy-bee who shuttles often between Singapore and Cambodia for her humanitarian work.
But it is on the topic of her "sponsored kid" Srey Nuon when the eloquent and assured Olsen gets a bit more emotional, her voice shaking a little as she speaks in an interview with herworldPLUS about the change from being a singleton to a "stand-in" mum for the handicapped girl from Cambodia.
The Singapore actress-host has helped to provide financially for Srey Nuon, a handicapped child for a year now, who was part of a HIV-positive community forcibly evicted to Oudong, the old capital of Cambodia. A year ago, the young girl was no longer going to school due to family poverty. She was also paralysed from waist-down due to a birth defect and even had to "walk" with her hands up the steps to a pagoda in the mountains to beg for money on her family's behalf, said Olsen.
When Olsen heard about Srey Nuon's situation, she was "very upset, very affected" when she returned to her hotel. "I come from a modest background, where all I had was an education," explains the actress. "So I felt that the least that all kids should have, is to be able to go to school."
Olsen acted almost immediately by "finding her a school" and by providing Srey Nuon the financial support that she needed. Although Srey Nuon's birth mother had passed away from HIV complications, Olsen has become her 'stand-in' mum since, taking pains to visit the young girl regularly in Cambodia.
"I celebrated her 13th birthday with her recently," smiles the star. "I visit her often. She has a wheelchair now and she's looked after by her aunt and uncle."
Read the full story from herworldPLUS via Asiaone here.