people gathered in an event

Silence is not golden, guests told at OIC launch

Nov 18, 2014

More than 130 diverse guests, including speech therapists, university students, and members of Melbourne’s Cambodian community, attended our OIC Launch Extravaganza on 12 November, and they received a clear message about the importance of communication.

“Silence is not golden,” WhyDev’s Brendan Rigby told the crowd in his opening address. “The ability to communicate is the ability to make meaning; meaning that is personal, empowering and significant. We shape and show who we are through communication.”

The launch event, held at Mr. Wow’s Emporium in Melbourne, brought people together to celebrate the work we have done so far, and to raise awareness of communication and swallowing problems in Cambodia.

An estimated 600,000 Cambodians have a communication or swallowing problem, and yet few have access to speech therapy, a basic health service.

OIC Cambodia is working to change that. We have two goals: to provide training in speech therapy services across Cambodia, and to graduate the first generation of speech therapists from a Cambodian university.

Former Member of Parliament Maxine McKew highlighted the importance of speech therapy services for children both in Cambodia and in Australia. “It is surely every child’s right to be able to communicate – to express themselves, to be able to learn, to ask questions, to show affection and express wonder.”

Gail Mulcair, Chief Executive Officer of Speech Pathology Australia (SPA), presented OIC Managing Director Weh Yeoh with a cheque for $25,000. The grant will be used to evaluate our speech therapy pilot program, the first of its kind in Cambodia.

Gail Mulcair (centre), CEO of SPA, presents a cheque to OIC’s Chyrisse Heine and Weh Yeoh.


Yeoh and Hong Lim, Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, also spoke at the event.

“The challenge before us is enormous,” said Yeoh. “Even with everything we have already accomplished, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who do not have access to the basic services that could change their lives.

“But together, we can change this.”