Profile: Brian McConaghy

Brian McConaghy left his life as a forensic scientist to help men, women and children in Cambodia. Read more about his life so far, and his charity.

Born

Born in 1963 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He and his family immigrated to Canada in 1978, and he currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two children, both adopted from Cambodia.

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Life as a forensic scientist

McConaghy worked as a forensic scientist with the RCMP – namely with the Vancouver Forensic Laboratory, as a firearm and tool-mark examination specialist. Even after leaving to pursue other dreams, McConaghy continued to consult with the RCMP. He worked on the Donald Bakker case, providing the RCMP with the information they needed regarding the identity of the criminal’s child sexual abuse victims, and he also worked on the Robert Pickton case, providing forensic evidence regarding the women Pickton murdered.

His charity work today

In 1989, McConaghy founded Ratanak International, a Christian charity that is dedicated to helping the people of Cambodia. Some of the projects Ratanak International has embarked on include building clinics, schools, hospitals and orphanages, providing shelters for the elderly and those suffering from AIDS, as well as food distribution during times of emergency.

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In 2004, Ratanak International expanded its field of vision to include projects that rescue and rehabilitate children sold into sexual slavery. With McConaghy’s experience, his organization assists Canadian law enforcement agencies with investigating Canadian pedophiles in Cambodia. The organization also works on several development projects in Cambodia, such as programs dedicated to preventing human trafficking and child/woman abuse recovery. Part of this includes preparing victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking to re-enter society as healthy adults. Because of this work, Ratanak International received the R.L. Petersen Award for Non-Profit Innovation in 2008.

Ratanak means “precious gem” in Khmer, and McConaghy chose this name after an 11-month-old Cambodian baby with the same name passed away because of a lack of medical aid. McConaghy wished to prevent further needless suffering and death.

Based in Vancouver, Ratanak International also has sister organizations in the UK and Australia, as well as an office in Cambodia.

For more information about Ratanak International, visit www.ratanak.org.

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Michaela Ludwig

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