Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Inspirational Initiatives

This summer we've been greatly encouraged as we've seen several individuals and groups take their passion to action through awareness and fundraising activities for the Ratanak Foundation. We wanted to take a moment to highlight a couple of these efforts both as a means of noting our appreciation for those who have recently given of their time and effort to be a blessing, as well as to inspire others reading as to ways to jump in and get involved with Ratanak.

In Canada -

Grade 8 Abolitionist: Cambridge, Ontario

(Written by Beth Da
vis Lauer)

I want to celebrate someone inspirational! Her name is Jamielee McLeod. Jamielee is 13 years old and this past school year when she was in Grade 8 at Hespeler Public School in Cambridge she became an “abolitionist.” Jamielee has probably not thought of herself in those terms, but that is what she is.

Jamielee came to know about modern day slavery when her Dad went with a Ratanak short term team to paint walls at the Sanctuary building and Rahab’s House in Svay Pak and at the Hagar school in Phnom Penh. Jamielee made a study of the issue of child trafficking into the sex trade and then told all her friends and their families about Ratanak and what it does in Cambodia for these children. For Jamielee it wasn’t enough to just “know” about what was going on in the world concerning modern day slavery – it meant “action” – doing something about it! On the day she had her Dad and I speak to her class at school about the issue, she presented Ratanak a cheque for over $525.00 – money she had raised by just advocating for the cause!

Jamielee McLeod is a modern day abolitionist. With 27 million slaves in the world today (more than at any other time in the history of the world) and the number of children who are trafficked exceeding 5 million, we all must rise up and become abolitionists. According to the International Labour Organisation, the child trafficking industry is estimated to be worth 22 billion dollars. In Cambodia, it has been estimated that s many as 33,000 children are prostituted there with about a third of all prostitutes under 18. In fact, one research source states that the average age of a child’s first sexual act of this kind happens for girls at 11.1 years of age and for boys 12.6 years.

Ratanak applauds people like Jamielee who do what they can, where they can because they can! We are free and therefore we each have a role to play in ending injustice in Cambodia and the world. It’s our right and our responsibility.

“So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.” William Wilberforce

In the United States -

Youth Carwash and Kingdom
Bound: Wilson/Darien Lake, New York
(Written by Nia Bates)

After Brian McConaghy spoke at the First Baptist Church in Wilson, NY, several high school students were convicted to initiate a campaign to educate their local town about the plight of sex trafficking in Cambodia...starting with a car wash on Saturday, July 10th, 2010. God touched their hearts, and in return, they are sharing the realities of modern-day slavery in the world and the freedom of Christs' love, in the streets of their community. The group raised over $300 for the Ratanak Foundation during one sunny saturday afternoon and are planning another car wash , a spaghetti dinner, and an outdoor worship service in September focused on the injustice of sex trafficking in Cambodia through the art of music and dance.

On Tuesday, August 3rd, Jeremy and Nia Bates had the opportunity to represent the Ratanak Foundation and speak about sex trafficking in Cambodia alongside of International Justice Mission, Agape International Ministries and Let Them LOL at the Justice Experience at Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake, NY. The couple provided Ratanak Foundation resources at a table the entire day to between 300-400 people and had personal conversations with about 80-100 people about how they could get involved with this issue that has been placed on their heart. Nia had an opportunity to speak at a seminar about the specific issue of sex trafficking in Cambodia from a women's perspective and Jeremy had the opportunity to speak on a man's role in this issue and what drives the demand in the sex industry. They were able to make many wonderful connections with Canadians and Americans coming from all over the country at this huge event that hosts close to 60,000 people each year.


Thank you to all those who have participated in raising support for the Ratanak Foundation this Summer, including the others who haven't been mentioned here, or perhaps those we don't even know about yet?! We love to hear these stories and love sharing them also, so please do keep us in the loop so that we can encourage you also.