With a strong desire to help the Cambodian orphans in Cambodia, Daravann Yi founded Salt Seeker Foundation, Inc. on January 1, 2007. The foundation is dedicated and committed to providing financial and spiritual support to improve the quality of life and the future of children living in orphanages throughout Cambodia.
Daravann survived the execution squads, starvation, disease, and forced labor of Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from April 17, 1975, to January 7, 1979) and escaped through a jungle filled with landmines to the safety of a refugee camp in Thailand in August 1980.
After living at the refugee camp for a year, Daravann, his brother, Davin, and his sister, Rasy, were granted permission to come to the United States on August 29, 1981.
They lived with their uncle and aunt for about four months in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, and then Daravann and Davin were put in a Christian foster home nearby. With hope and a strong will to achieve, they began to learn to speak, read, and write English in the ESL program in the 8th grade at Beverly Hills Middle School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. After living with Dr. Melvin Smithgall and Barbara Smithgall for two years, Daravann, Davin, and Rasy were placed in the home of Mr. Richard L. Hughey and Mrs. Kristine Hughey in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.
Two years later, Rasy moved to live with another foster family in Upper Darby; Davin started to work as a lawn sprinkler technician and lived in his apartment. As for Daravann, he attended Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, from 1986 to 1993, earning a Baccalaureate degree in Foreign Service and International Politics and a Master’s degree in Counselor Education. Since 1993, he has been working as a counselor at the Community College of Philadelphia.
On July 30, 1994, Daravann married a beautiful and extraordinary Korean lady named Inae Yu. Daravann and Inae maintain their excellent relationship at home by respecting, trusting, communicating, supporting, and understanding each other, and incredibly loving each other. Daravann and Inae have been blessed with two beautiful and healthy children. Their daughter, Nahee, is 23 years old, and their son, Pada, is 20 years old.
At this stage of his life, Daravann has enjoyed his work enormously. He is excited knowing that he can positively impact the students with whom he has the opportunity to work and the people in the community. He cares about academic success for his students. He pledges to do anything to help students achieve their goals, build self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth, and utilize their abilities.
For Daravann, every day is a new day. He lives in the present, learns from the past, and plans for the future. Every day he strives to be a better husband and father at home, a better worker at the college, a good role model for his students, and a helpful person in the community. His life is beautiful now, and it will get better because he knows how to enrich himself and other people.