I don’t aim to change the world. I want to improve the lives of the incredible people I meet in Cambodia. It’s not religion, association or guilt driving me to do this. It is looking into the eye of someone who has lived an unimaginably tough life and deciding to help make that person’s life better, not because I have to, but because why should that person struggle anymore than me.
— Jake Stalker Founder 1step1life

To fully understand the love, passion and determination that surrounds 1step1life I think it is important for everyone to understand my story. The story of a 20 year old dude, who literally one day, after a life-time of small struggles decided to follow my dreams and not look back. 

I hail from Riverstone, a small country-like town in the western suburbs of Sydney NSW. I'm the youngest of a relatively small family, and have one older brother Scott. I have always lived in the same house, and have been supported, encouraged and loved by my incredible family unconditionally. Both my brother and I went through the local public schooling system, starting at Riverstone Primary, then Riverstone High and I finished my HSC at Wyndham in 2012.

Life has always been a balancing act for me, I'm an inherently social and confident person, yet have had constant struggles with anxiety and depression that always held me back from travelling withmy group of friends.

After finishing my HSC I felt disconnected from my initial plans to study business and finance, and spiralled into a somewhat out of character loss of direction. I ended up working in a t-shirt warehouse for 12 months, moved out of home and was living the very typical, destructive teenage life of work, drink, sleep, repeat. At the start of 2013 one of my good mates and I travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia as part of a 6-week holiday. This in itself was a major achievement for me as I had never travelled away from home for that long successfully without anxiety getting in the way. 

But when my life completely changed was when we went into Cambodia. I remember instantaneously being struck by the incredible warmth of the locals there. After spending 3 week with them, getting to know so many incredible people I knew I had to do something to help. I came back to Australia with a completely changed perspective. I was in a country that has so much, yet we tend to appreciate it so little. I was at a cross-roads in my life. Did I continue to work in a job wasting my potential, living out of home which was crippling financially and for my wellbeing, or did I make a change.

I moved back home with my parents, quit my job, enrolled full time at uni studying a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Psychology, re-started my tutoring business, a line of work I was truly passionate about, and started edging closer to achieving my dream of helping in Cambodia. I remember sitting at our dinning room table, surrounded by my immediate and extended family talking about what we would name the charity. When I said One Step One Life, we all knew it was a winner. It encapsulated everything I wanted to convey in a simple phrase, I never wanted to change the world, I just wanted to take One Step towards changing One Life at a time in Cambodia. 

Since that day, 1step1life has made unbelievably fast progress towards achieving my new life-goal of giving back. 

I hope this website shows the world how passionate I and the entire team of 1step1life are about our work in Cambodia. It isn't work for us, none of us get paid, we do it because it is what is right.

If there is one thing I have learnt during the journey over the last 24 months it would be this:
Every single human being has the opportunity to do something amazing with their lives.
But what defines amazing? Is it changing the lives of those who need it most? Is it being an incredible mum? Or being incredibly rich? I think the answer to that is whatever makes you happy. Don't let anything get in the way of your happiness, any dream is achievable, any dream can become reality with a mixture of hardwork, dedication and positivity. For me overcoming anxiety to step onto a plane to head over to Cambodia solo has not been easy, nor has being the youngest independent charity founder in Cambodia, but I have worked hard, I have remained dedicated and I attempt to radiate positivity everywhere I go. And in doing so I have been able, in less then 12 months, conquer my fears and establish a charity that has literally started changing the lives of those who need it most in Cambodia.

A special thanks to my family, without your support 1step1life would have not been in the position it is today. Your endless support, love and encouragement has been appreciated more than could ever be conveyed.

To everyone reading this, join the 1step1life journey, see the difference you can make in the lives of Cambodians, or at a minimum read this passage and be inspired to achieve whatever dream you may have thought not possible, because I can guarantee you it is.

Jake Stalker

Founder
1step1life