Over ten days we visited several communities supported by Australian sponsors. In one village in the Kralanh district where World Vision have just started to work, I heard a desperate story. With a starving family and no other choices, the mother I spoke to has already sent two of her daughters to Thailand with a ‘broker’ to illegally search for work. She seemed without hope, unable to imagine a positive future for her family.
"In stark contrast to this was another community in Banan district which has been working with World Vision for close to a decade. The faces I saw there, young and old, were beaming with pride, a sense of achievement and so much hope."
Among many initiatives the community have learnt basic business and financial management skills. Through this they have built up an impressive event-hire business – they couldn’t wait to show us. World Vision has recently started their planned withdrawal from this community. But there is now a generation of leaders, so that this work can continue without them. Reflecting on my earlier experience in Kranlanh, I was struck by what a very real difference Australian sponsors can make in the lives of people across the world.
"Having been part of a World Vision sponsor family for most of my life, I was startled by how little I had understood about what a difference I could make."
In my version you give to the children to meet limited immediate needs. But the happiest, healthiest and most successful children have loving parents who can provide more than just the basics. They can teach them the crucial skills needed to build their own futures.
Sponsors like you and I are vital to this. I came home with a completely new understanding of the challenges faced in countries like Cambodia and what those of us in more privileged positions can do to help.
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