Geraldine Cox AM was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1945. When she was younger, Geraldine was considered the ‘wild child’ of the family. In her early 20s, after learning she would never be able to conceive, she joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and embarked on a life-changing journey. In 1970 at the age of 25, she was posted to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Even though the country was in turmoil during the Vietnam War, this first posting saw her fall hopelessly in love with this magical country and its children, and changed her life forever.
Geraldine went on to explore the world with postings to Australian Embassies in Manila, Bangkok, Tehran and Washington DC. In 1987, Geraldine left her government role and worked for Chase Manhattan Bank in Sydney, Australia for eight years. But a large part of her had never left Cambodia. In 1995, at the age of 50, Geraldine could deny the call no longer. She returned to continue her work with the children that are so much a part of her life. She founded Sunrise Cambodia.
Designed as a loving 24/7 residential home for vulnerable, disabled, trafficked and abandoned children, it also gives educational possibilities to community children from the outlying villages, where families are mainly poor rice farmers. Geraldine faced many difficulties, and well deserves the title of “Big Mum.”
Geraldine lives with the children in the province of Kandal. “Big Mum” acts as a mentor to the children in her care, and regularly meets supporters, visitors, sponsors, and donors who visit the Sunrise Learning Centre. She remains the inspiration and visionary of Sunrise Cambodia, and is a passionate and dedicated leader. Her warm influence is felt in every area of the organisation, as Geraldine lives at the centre, she is available 24/7 to the children.
Geraldine makes regular public and media appearances all over the world to assist with fundraising appeals, and to help make people aware of the threats these vulnerable children face.