Since my “enlightenment” this past week in the presence of his Holiness the Dalai lama, I began to research who else his Holiness spends his time with. In this search, I can across the most amazing man and story. His name is Scott Neesom and his journey during his short 56 years is simply remarkable.
As a young man, Scott grew up in Australia and wasn’t much of a student, dropping out of school at 17. He ended up working in a movie theater and before long had climbed the corporate ladder to film promoter, then buyer and in a relatively short amount of time, was head of distribution for 20th Century Fox in Australia. Before he knew it, Scott was in Los Angeles, very successful and within seven years was the President of 20th Century Fox International.
Three years later, in 2003, Scott was on a five-week vacation in Cambodia, when he asked to be taken to Phmon Penh, the 18 acre garbage dump. Upon arriving, Neesom saw an incredible site which he describes as “an apocalypse” with over 1,000 children living and surviving from the trash and poverty beyond imagination.
“The moment I stepped there it was the single most impactful moment in my life. I was standing there facing into the abyss. The smell was almost visible.There’s this sudden moment when you realise it’s people – it’s children and they’re working. There were kids everywhere. In some cases, they’d been left there by parents that didn’t want them. They’d be going through the rubbish looking for recyclable, metals, plastic bottles making maybe 25 cents a day.”
Scott returned home a changed man and knew that he needed to do something. The following year, in 2004, he created the Cambodian Children’s Fund. He began the fund by quitting his seven-figure job and selling all of his possessions, cars, boats, homes and funneled them into saving these children.
What began more than a decade ago, as one man’s mission to save 87 children, has today cared for more than 2,000 students and 10,000 people annually providing to entire families and communities in crisis. Scott recently met the Dalai Lama, who told him, “Karma means action. Real impact comes from action, not just thinking.” If there is one thing Scott Neesom’s life is about, it is action and karma.
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