Subscribe Search

Search form

MaD spider dare raises cash for NGO

MaD spider dare raises cash for NGO

Aussie volunteer Kylie Dawson eats a fried tarantula to raise funds for the Making a Difference NGO. Photo by: MICHAEL SLOAN

NEWLY arrived Australian volunteer Kylie Dawson went above and beyond the call of duty last Friday when she consumed a fried tarantula to raise funds for Siem Reap-based NGO, Making a Difference (MaD).

MaD founder Phillip Starling told 7Days he organised the fundraiser after a Facebook discussion about spiders being a Cambodian delicacy prompted several of Dawson’s friends to offer her money in exchange for eating one.

“When I saw that people were prepared to put money down to see it, I said to her, ‘Why not turn it into a sponsored event?’”

After sourcing five tarantula spiders in nearby Kampong Cham province, Starling arranged for the arachnids to be fried and seasoned by chefs at the Me Eatery on Airport Road.

Dawson, who is taking two weeks vacation from her job at a law firm in Melbourne to volunteer with MaD, said the stunt has attracted between $1000 and $3000 in pledges for the organisation.

“I just keep thinking about what the money is going towards. A few squeamish moments over something that everyone in Cambodia eats is well worth it,” she said. “But I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. I’m only here for two weeks so I’m cramming everything in and eating spiders is one of them, unfortunately.”

The money raised by Dawson and funds from a number of picnic fundraisers held in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart last weekend will be used to fund health and sanitation projects in Pouk district where MaD has been active since 2007.

Another aspect of MaD’s work involves running the Me Eatery which started in March 2010 as Cambodia’s first donation-only restaurant with an exotic menu featuring Asian, African and Khmer fusion cuisine.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states