Monday, February 15, 2010

Georgia's Perspective

My name is Georgia Johnstone - Ratanak rep from Vernon, BC. I'm here for two weeks to put a face to names and places of projects we fund so when I speak to groups I have a first-hand account of them. It has been a very positive and enlightening (and hot) experience. I visited TASK - a facility which gives a great deal of help to mentally and physically challenged kids and their caregivers. These are children who would possibly have been abandoned due to disabilities as there is such a stigma attached - they receive physio, newborn care, nutrition counselling, a school and follow-up visits in their village.

Next it was on to CC2 - the prison for women and youth. We went out with Prison Fellowship who is doing the most amazing job of working with all of them. It is minimum security but still behind tall walls/razor wire. There were two English classes going on - one Bible study - a mechanics class - one inmate painting dirty black cement walls a light colour with a garden underneath - all thanks to Prison Fellowship Cambodia. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the faith and dedication of the Kmer people. They love the Lord, serve him gladly and have a faith that would move mountains. Their eyes light up and their smiles are wide when they explain, with a passion, the ministry they are involved in.

We visited Svay Pak - the notorious brothel area and to see three buildings that were either existing brothels or future brothels now being used as Kids Club, church, medical clinics and schools is so uplifting. Pastor Chantha is an amazing man who is dedicating his life to this area and keeping the little girls safe - Praise God for men and women like him.

I have been out to Place of Rescue - an orphanage an hour away where my husband and I support a boy. Was so wonderful to see the kids again and I will go again today to take him a treasured toy and to say goodbye for this visit. This is my third time to Cambodia and hopefully more to come.

We have just returned from a visit to Chab Dai - an organization that has a couple of purposes but a huge part is prevention of sexual exploitation of children from the villages in all provinces of this country. They train locals in the village about what to watch for - the tricks of the trade the traffickers use when trying to get new children - who to call and how to teach the parents to be aware and careful who they talk to. Very impressive, as again, it is the Kmer people being empowered to care for their own. I was very moved by the Kmer lady, Sokah as she explained their education program. Chab Dai offers intervention, rescue, after care, legal help, human rights advocacy etc. with a hotline that local leaders can access. Foreigners do not go on these trips to the village - locals need to own it and it works!!

I leave on Thurs. will a head full of new information and a very grateful heart to Stew and Sue for all the work and time they have put in to educating me - I so look forward to telling folks at home about all I've seen and heard. Please pray for them, for this country and all the people, foreign and domestic, who are pouring their hearts into literally saving the beautiful children of Cambodia.

God Bless - in His name

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