Over the last few days I have shared part of my experiences from Cambodia and some of the real challenges that impoverished children face in this region of the world. While some of the issues are similar to those we face in China (malnutrition, lack of medical care, “left behind” children fending for themselves), others are critical problems we haven’t faced before. I know most of us have read about the atrocities of child sex trafficking, but to hear the stories in person and to learn that many of the families I met have been impacted in some way was truly sobering.
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Yesterday I wrote about visiting two rural villages on the border between Thailand and Cambodia, and why many children there are unable to attend school. The immense poverty in this region also often prevents children from receiving the medical care they need as well, and today I would like to introduce you to a few of the children and teens I met who need our assistance.
The first is an absolutely beautiful girl to whom we’ve given the Western name of Christine (because of the issues with trafficking in this region. we will never use any of the children’s real names). Read more.
If you pick up any travel guide to Cambodia, you will see under the “weather” section that almost all of them say you should never travel in September, due to the rainy season. But of course I wasn’t heading to Cambodia for tourism purposes, but instead to meet the local children there. So rainy season or not, I was on my way. Before I left, I received an email from Leng, the man I was going to meet there, which simply said, “Please prepare for mud.” I will admit readily that I was woefully unprepared, and I should have paid more attention in school to what “monsoonal rains” really mean.
We left for the first village at 7:30 in the morning, in the pouring down rain, and our brave tuk tuk driver was soaked to the core before we even climbed aboard. Read more.
When I was doing research into some of the issues facing children in southeast Asia, I came across a book written by Robert Spires, Ph.D., on the prevention of human trafficking. Dr. Spires is a professor at Valdosta State University, and much of his research has been done in this region of the world. He was kind enough to set up a video conference with me to answer many of my questions, and thankfully as our call was ending he said, “Do you mind if I tell you about some truly incredible work being done for children in Cambodia?” And that is how I found myself being introduced to Sokleng In, a young man living in Cambodia, who is one of the most impressive individuals I have ever met in my life.
I have to admit that when the Love Without Boundaries’ Board of Directors first decided to expand our work outside the borders of China, another location in Asia seemed like a natural progression. Same continent, right? (Despite every country being completely unique, of course.) But exactly where in Asia was the biggest question we faced, which I spent months carefully researching. Last week I found myself walking barefoot down a muddy road to one of several rural villages in Cambodia, where the hundreds of children I met there completely stole my heart.
Recently our Changzhi Believe in Me students did a unit of study centered on the delightful children’s book, Diary of a Worm.
The book features a series of diary entries of a young worm, accompanied by “photos” of life from his ground- level perspective. Our innovative Changzhi Believe in Me teachers recently used this creative concept of a unique point of view to engage the students in taking photos and documenting life from their own perspectives. Read more.
LWB’s Chief Administrative Executive Kelly Wolfe recently got to do something that many of us dream about: she visited Heartbridge Healing Home in person for a session of baby-cuddling!
Since most of us won’t get the opportunity to do the same, we thought we’d take all of you on a little tour of Heartbridge and catch up with some of the darling children there. Read more.
In honor of going back to school, the teachers at our Believe in Me orphanage school in Jinjiang recently gave the students back to school haircuts. They allowed these boys — Will Harrison, Howard, and Henry — to choose their own individual styles which made for some creative clipping. Read more.
Today in China, families and children are celebrating the Autumn Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The festival is a time spent reuniting with family and loved ones, eating a nice meal and special treats, and sharing stories under the moon. Gratitude is the spirit of this holiday. The festival is very much like holidays found all around the world focused on giving thanks for the abundance of gifts nature brings, togetherness, and celebrating the changing of the season. Read more.
In August, seven-month-old Andrew became a graduate. Not a graduate of a school, but a graduate of our Anhui Healing Home where he had been a resident for five months. Andrew was born with a cleft lip and palate and lived at our healing home while preparing for his surgery and for several months after his cleft repair. We are thankful that Andrew was able to go from the nannies’ care directly into the arms of a loving foster family in Fuyang! Read more.