Nov 8 2009 Lesley Roberts,
(Posted by CAAI News Media)
LIFE-CHANGING charity worker Sisary Kheny graduated after seven long years of study - and immediately thanked big-hearted Sunday Mail readers.
Generous Scots who read her inspirational story donated £10,000 to help the Cambodian student learn the skills needed to help landmine amputees in her home country.
After the 30-year-old graduated in last week, she said: "I would like to say a big thank-you to all those people.
"This means so much to me and my family and my country.
"I can now serve the people with disability in my country and can help train other professionals from low income nations."
Using coursework emailed to her home in Phnom Penh, Sisary has become an expert in making and fitting artificial limbs and braces.
Retired teacher Sue Walters, from Glasgow, spearheaded the campaign to help fund Sisary's place on Strathclyde University's world acclaimed rehab studies course. And she was in the audience at the uni's Barony Hall to watch Sisary collect her degree.
The pair met by chance in 2001 when Sisary was in Scotland for a conference on prosthetics and Sue contacted the Sunday Mail for help.
Sue said: "I knew right away she would make a difference in her home country if she got the right training.
"And after the piece appeared in the Sunday Mail, lots of people got in touch to say they wanted to help but we had to keep it going to fund Sisary's whole course.
"More and more people heard about us over the years but we kept many of the original readers who donated.
"One woman died and her husband wrote to me to say he wanted to keep making donations on her behalf. It was that important to her."
Landmines scattered by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s are still wreaking havoc in Cambodia and Sisary treats thousands of people who've lost limbs.
Illnesses such as polio, long-since wiped out in the UK, are rife in the poverty-stricken country - leaving many kids with limb deformities.
Mum-of-two Sue, 66, said: "Sisary is determined her education is used to help educate others in her homeland. She really is inspiring.
"She's like my daughter and she calls me 'mother'."
Sisary, who works for the Cambodia Trust charity, said: "I can't thank Sue enough for what she's done.
"I can't find the words to say how I feel about her."