The Final Push for Cambodia
Dearest Family and Friends,
The moment you have all been waiting for (drum roll please), a little more information on the nitty gritty *Nacho Libre voice* of this upcoming sustainable farm venture in Cambodia. We are currently waiting in the airport in Seoul for the jet to fuel up to fly to Singapore and then Cambodia! Can you believe that? I know I can’t. I’ve been running all over meeting with people, grabbing mosquito repellent, shopping construction tools, dusting off old travels bags, and much more but now we're actually on our way.
SUMMARY OF THE CAMBODIA PROJECT
The Cambodia Project will specifically focus on implementing an aquaponic system, nursery, kitchen gardens, a chicken coop to produce eggs and a variety of fruit trees for long-term production. Our project will be developed at a sex trafficking rehabilitation center, where girls have been rescued from the sex trade industry in Cambodia and will undergo therapy and vocational training. The goal of the project is to both educate and create economic sustainability for the center, staff, and the girls alike.
A BRIEF HISTORY
*courtesy of Grace Opens Doors
Cambodia, a country in mainland Southeast Asia bordering Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand, is home to 15.2 million people. Cambodia has yet to recover from the trauma caused by the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia is a source and transit country for human trafficking and is known as one of the world’s largest human trafficking destinations while most of the population lives below the poverty line.
Cambodia is ranked 14th in the world for modern slavery. An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year. 22% of human trafficking occurs for commercial sexual exploitation, of whom 55% are women and girls. Rape is increasing in Cambodia, and most victims of rape in Cambodia are children. The median age of rape victims in 2010 was 12 years old, two years younger than it was in 2007. While the majority of child sex offenders are locals, the magnitude of Cambodia’s cases of child sex tourism makes it a popular destination for offenders.
Victims of sex trafficking are often girls from poor families, who are tricked into working as prostitutes. Many girls are also sold to brothels by their own parents, often to pay off debts. A majority of the children taken into prostitution were students at the time, although children are vulnerable regardless of their school attendance. Girls who are forced to work in brothels endure regular rape and abuse and may be tortured if caught attempting to escape. Some of the girls in the brothels are only 5 years old. Trade-in virgins are also another big market, with buyers paying from $500 - $4,000 to purchase a young girl’s virginity.
Working with local leaders and Grace Opens Doors, our main partner, we are developing a rescue ministry which includes housing, healing, educational, and vocational support for the rescued women.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Last year Grace Opens Doors purchased nearly seven acres of land in Kangpong Cham, Cambodia to develop rehabilitation homes for trafficked girls where they would receive counseling, vocational training, and educational support in a safe and nurturing environment removed from the city. Phase One of the construction will provide housing for twenty-four girls in four homes of six girls each. Each home will have its own house mother. The site will include chicken coops, a crop field, and an aquaponics center to make the project self-sustaining.
In addition, the site will house a school, which will provide free education for the trafficked girls, as well as, provide another source of income for the center from the tuition of the local students. There is space to increase the size to house sixty girls. In addition to the individual girls’ homes and school, the site will include a common hall for dining and study, a prayer chapel, and other sustainability projects. The hall will also be used for recreation as well as educational and vocational training.
Harvest Craft’s Holistic Approach is…
Economy. Economic generation is at the heart of development, without it the cycle of poverty will progress. Our tactics involve a social entrepreneurship mindset. Bill Drayton encapsulates this the best when he says, "Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry." Our hopes are to truly empower people and to truly dignify them with a job.
Environment. Environmental degradation occurs out of desperation. It creates a susceptibility to natural disasters, food insecurity, and loss of marketable resources for those who live in rural areas. When treating the eco-systems with care, they will then provide necessities crucial for survival. These practices will provide for immediate needs with a long term sustainable perspective in mind.
Education. Ultimately, ignoring social injustices will result in the lack of knowledge in how to rectify them. We seek to train farmers in these underprivileged communities, along with educating humanity in how taking steps to heal the environment will break the poverty cycle. This education will result in job formation, food production, community engagement, and stewardship of the surrounding eco-systems.
Quick Facts about the fundraising:
We reached the goal of $4,000!
A total of 59 Donors and over 221 shares via social media.
And I’m guessing thousands of prayers :) So thank you!
The final bit of fundraising - So close! Only $630 to go till we reach the $4,000 mark. Humbled and unbelievably grateful for the support shown to date.
Final logistics - like various construction materials and equipment for the aquaponics system. Ask that God would provide a skillful native worker or two that we may contract for a few specialty tasks.
Health and safety - Lots of mosquitoes and mosquitoes like my blood, as well as, carry not so fun diseases like Malaria. Also I have a small hernia and so does one of my teammates. Pray that they stay put and don’t hinder our work. No problems to date and let’s pray it stays that way.
The future rescued girls attending the facility - Pray that they would not only experience physical care but deep spiritual care and life through encounters with God at the Center. Pray for the provision of excellent teachers and supervisors at the rehabilitation center once it opens in the next year.
Communication & collaboration - a underestimated but incredibly crucial part of any project. Pray that the team patience and grace would abound. We want to set aside pride and draw closer in the frustrating or difficult moments, rather than push each other away. We need unity to complete our work.
Diligence & creativity - We know things will not go exactly as planned but that is a natural part of international projects. We pray for creativity to solve problems and even divine appointments with locals who might be able to assist us on the construction of the project site. We need a concrete pourer and maybe a welder.
Thank you again for the overwhelming amount of support and prayers. I am continually humbled by the support and care you all show me. Thank you for always pushing me towards Christ and encouraging me to pursue the work He is doing in my life. I would, in all seriousness, not be where I am sitting in an airport in Seoul, South Korea on my way to Cambodia. I would not be doing the work that I am passionate about in sustainable agriculture and community development without the generous support you have shown me. I promise to be diligent and a good steward of what you have entrusted to me and look forward to sharing with each one of you when I get back whether over coffee or FaceTime!
All for His Glory,