Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I’d imagine that people in the US and Canada are beginning to eagerly anticipate Christmas. The festivities with friends and family, the holiday food, the snow, the gifts…
Personally, I’ll be working both December 24 and 25, and am as far from snow as physically possible. But that’s just the way the gingerbread man crumbles…
As many of you may know, in addition to teaching in Phnom Penh, I have been volunteering at an orphanage, and interning with ECPAT Cambodia (End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia.) Working with children, particularly orphans, in tangent with researching and writing about Cambodia’s child prostitution epidemic has made me really passionate about empowering children here, and making sure those children who have been exploited are given another chance at life.
I’ve learned a lot about the child prostitution epidemic here, which mainly affects poor children from broken households, whose desperate parents sell them into the sex trade. Only a fraction of these millions of beautiful children escape and begin to build new lives.
The treatment, rehabilitation, education and vocational training for former child sex workers does not come from the government. Instead, it comes from NGO’s (non-government organizations), volunteers and generous donors who enable nonprofit organizations to treat victims’ physical, social and psychological scars.
I am hoping that you and other friends and family in the US and Canada will be willing to help these vulnerable children become mentally and physically rehabilitated, and help them start new lives outside the sex trade.
You can donate directly to ECPAT. I am in charge of fundraising for ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking) in Cambodia’s Free a Girl project. If we raise $2,500 before Christmas, ECPAT Cambodia will be eligible for a huge grant, which it will put towards local projects. You can donate here: http://www.justgiving.com/ECPAT-Cambodia
To give you an idea of how far your help will go, the groups I work with say that…
· $10 buys one girl two uniforms to attend public school in.· $20 pays for a highly traumatized case to visit a psychological specialist and receive highly needed therapy
· $35 pays for a month’s gas & charcoal supply for the shelter kitchen.
· $300 covers a year’s health care for 20 children.
· $365 provides a year’s food supply for one child.
· $1,020 will cover basic school materials, the daily school allowance and tuition assistance for 20 girls for a year.
Every dollar that we succeed in raising will literally go towards saving a Cambodian girl’s life.