Friday, November 18, 2011

RATANAK UK: Sons & Daughters

So, the penultimate day of visits arrived with a day spent at Daughters of Cambodia. Daughters seeks to help victims of sexual exploitation to find ways out of this situation and into one of safety, freedom and dignity, to find wholeness, and to become all that God created them to be. The vision is to empower clients with the internal capacity and the external resources to change their own lives. Internal resources involve empowering clients to make changes to their own lives, within their own cultural and social contexts, promoting healthy decision making so that changes are internal, voluntary and sustainable rather than imposed.

At the main centre we were introduced to many of the staff who receive a variety of training in making clothes, jewellery, wood crafts, etc. all of which are then sold through outlets including the shop in Phnom Penh. All the girls given employment here were working in street prostitution and have chosen to walk away from that to work here.

Since I was last here a new programme called Sons has started reaching out to the highly marginalised lady boys. This group are hugely persecuted and are given no value or respect in this society. Here they find training & teaching – but more importantly hope.

The next part of the visit was very special – we went to the shop, exhibition centre and café which was the first project Ratanak UK was able to support. What a wonderful privilege it was and what an amazing place it is. Offering employment to 15 people across a broad range of areas including beauty, retail, catering and hospitality, the store oozes charm. It was a touching experience to see the reality. Every detail is beautifully taken care of

Please pray for Ruth, the founder of this programme, who has sacrificed so much to do this. Her drive, compassion and tenacity are an inspiration. Pray also for the staff and clients of Daughters who work so very hard.

Throughout this trip the common theme has been that of hope. It is so easy to see the darkness around us as we negotiate the different areas and yet the one thing we have to hold on to is the hope that is found nowhere else than in Christ. At Daughters today on the wall was written out the hymn – ‘On Christ alone my hope is found’. Whether we are on the streets with children who are being sold, in the foster home where they are safe, at the café eating beautiful cakes or in the shop admiring the amazing creations – the one thing that runs through all is hope. The hope of a better future and a restored life.

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