Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart receives inspiring honour in Cambodia for recognition of ‘distinguished services’

Article by Laurence Karacsony, courtesy of Sky News Australia

Gina Rinehart has been celebrated in Cambodia for her ‘distinguished services’ in recognition of her ongoing charity work for children in south-east Asia.

Australia’s richest woman received the highest honour for non-citizens, the Royal Order of Sahametrei (The Grand Cross), from Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni.

Ms Rinehart’s Hope Foundation partnered with the Cambodian Children’s Fund to present scholarships to girls in poverty and grant them access to university education.

The Australian mining magnate was photographed wearing a red royal sash as 10 girls from poor backgrounds stood beside her smiling proudly.

It is understood Ms Rinehart has developed a special bond with the girls after developing a close relationship with them since their first meeting.

In a 2015 interview, Ms Rinehart called the girls her “Cambodian daughters”.

On her company Hancock Prospecting’s website, Ms Rinehart’s philanthropic endeavours focus on health, education and sport, with her Cambodia initiative objective striving to “break cycles of poverty and abuse” to create a positive change in the country.

“Through intervention and education for the youth, Hancock Prospecting is proud to support the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF),” the statement read.

“Hancock Prospecting has been involved with the CCF for a number of years by way of establishing and ongoing funding of the Hope Scholarship program with the objective of providing opportunity for young Cambodian women from poor backgrounds to obtain a university education.”

Ms Rinehart said in 2015 she had learned about the “terrible and frightening treatment” of young Cambodian women in a 2007 article and said she wanted to lend a helping hand.

The Australian businesswoman also said back in 2015 she kept regular contact with the girls who were at different stages of their university education.

A Hancock Prospecting insider told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2014 Ms Rinehart looked forward to seeing “her girls” and had flown them to Kuala Lumpar twice so they could attend award ceremonies with her.

It was revealed in March Ms Rinehart had given away $100,000 tax-free prizes at black tie company party raffles, with estimates of $7 million being given away over the years at Christmas parties.

“It’s like a station hand who works in rural Queensland who wins 100 grand after tax, like a crazy, life-changing thing to happen,” one Hancock Prospecting employee told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Rinehart’s personal wealth increased by 40 per cent between 2023 and 2024, bringing her vast net worth to $50.48 billion.

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