Australian businesswoman Gina Rinehart honoured by King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia

Article courtesy of 7 News

WA iron ore magnate and philanthropist Gina Rinehart has been honoured by the Cambodian king for her charity work in the country.

King Norodom Sihamoni bestowed The Royal Order of Sahametrei (The Grand Cross) on the Hancock Prospecting executive chair at a recent ceremony — the highest honour that can be granted to a non Cambodian.

It is “awarded for Distinguished Services to the King and to the people of Cambodia”.

Rinehart has for years helped Cambodian girls living in poverty gain a university education through her Hope Foundation scholarship.

She has visited orphanages in the country over decades and has long supported the fight against human trafficking.

Rinehart has previously spoken of a group of nine girls from impoverished backgrounds to whom she had become close after intervening to offer them a chance at gaining an education in the early 2000s.

In 2019, she referred to the group as her “Cambodian daughters”.

“They started their lives very differently to each of us. They had to scavenge from sinking rubbish dumps in Cambodia, some of them sadly without parents. The rubbish dumps are not safe places for young girls,” she said.

‘’She looks forward to seeing them each year, including twice when she has flown them to Kuala Lumpur so they could be with her when she received international awards,’‘ an insider told the SMH in 2014.

The businesswoman also supports a number of other charitable efforts, including community, education and breast cancer initiatives, and has backed Australian swimming for more than 30 years.

“I started supporting swimming in the early 1990s, in conjunction with the Heart Foundation, to support and promote healthy lifestyles,” she said in 2016.

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