Building the foundations for freedom

Naomi Findlay is no stranger to renovating and styling homes, having built a successful career on the back of her passion for property. If you want to see her in action, tune in to Channel 10’s upcoming reno show Changing Rooms where she is one of the experts guiding the contestants.

Yet she embarked on a whole new mission in 2018 with plans to help build three schools over the next three years in remote locations in Cambodia.
The home stylist and her husband Andrew Dart are working with United World Schools to achieve this aim, with a fundraising target of $40,000 per school to cover the cost of constructing the buildings and associated infrastructure. The Wallsend couple are no strangers to fundraising. Over more than a decade, they have raised more than $400,000 for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Naomi said “contribution” was at the core of her definition of “wealth”, which goes beyond how much money a person has in their bank account. “For me I view wealth as many things.” she said. “I view wealth as having a financial component, there is a lifestyle component, the life I get to lead in being with my children, to have a coffee when I want to have a coffee, choose who I work with and when I work, that’s one of my elements of wealth. Connection is one of my other elements of wealth, being part of my community and having a tribe, a tribe of friends and family and people that I know, like and trust. For me the other element of wealth is contribution, I don’t believe I can be a wealth person, unless I am contributing.”

Despite their long association with the Fred Hollows Foundation, Naomi said the time had come for the couple to focus their efforts towards a different cause. “We’ve fundraised for the Fred Hollows Foundation for a really long time, but I was looking for an initiative that was a little more aligned with my businesses and my passions, which is education and obviously building, construction and property,” she said.

“I searched high and low, it had to be a really perfect fit for what I wanted and what the charity needed. After about six months of looking I teamed up with United World Schools. I’ve committed to building three schools in three years, one a year for the next three years and in each of those schools 267 children will get an education. It’s absolutely epic and so exciting.”
Visit to find out more about the program and how to get involved.

This story was first published in edition 89 of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine.
Story by Michelle Meehan