It would make most people sick here to see the abuse that goes on with children in some 3rd world countries. Places such as Sierra Leone where kids are drugged and made into junkie slaves who are then used to kill people, sadly including other children fighting for the opposite side. Some will have heard of these Sierra Leone Child Soldiers, but few will realise the suffering these children can carry inside. We all carry a concience from birth and when these children realise what they have done it's very difficult to reconcile. This is where missionary work can & has make a great difference in re-introducing such people into society through special education programs (called the STEPS program).
There are children in S.E. Asia whose parents are promised they will get good jobs, or whose parents are too poor or sick to look after their children. The parents are promised a better future for their children, sometimes told they will be given good jobs, etc. and not knowing any better their children are taken. They're subsequently given addictive drugs and so become junkies so they will be dependent and don't try to run away. They are then enslaved into child prostitution. Some from as young as just 8 years old.
In Christmas 2005 my wife & I went to visit missionaries in Cambodia who we'd supported with direct donations and spent a week working with them and seeing first hand the work they do (The American & German couple we know have been working with under privileged children in SE Asia for 35+ years). We were heartbroken to see the suffering that is a regular occurrence, but in awe of how they have been able to do their work for so long and still carry so much care & love for these children. Incredible work.
So my wife & I decided we wanted to do more to help. Aside from donating directly to missionaries in Uganda & Cambodia, a couple of years after our visit we opened a small restaurant in Siem Reap. It's still running today (It's called the Sanctuary, in Siem Reap - where most tourists visit) All profits generated go directly to missionary work in helping orphan girls in Cambodia, many who have been child prostitutes but were rescued. We have also been sponsoring one girl who is deaf & dumb for years (Who was also a child prostitute in her past): Back in 2005 when I asked if she was going to school like the other children I was told no, because there was no money to send her to a special school for handicapped children. The cost for transport was just $45 USD per month. So we asked that part of what we donate be used to give her an education. She's now grown up but we don't know what her job prospects are, although Det Sryleak is a very gifted artist (Some of her art is on the walls of the restaurant).
What's been amazing is that giving without expectation of anything in return has consistently reaped so many rewards for my wife and I. Not only success in business, but the people that we meet along the way, the experiences we share and more. We're very thankful for the healthy lives we enjoy and for the 2 children we've been blessed with.
The girl who manages the team of staff at the Sanctuary was once one of the girls in the orphanage herself and so is very committed to her job, not because of a manager's salary but the difference she knows the income given to the missionary team makes to others, which with all things considered is immeasurable and helps people for the rest of their lives.
Sadly whenever I have been in Siem Reap on my own, I am asked by Tuk Tuk drivers almost every time if I want prostitutes. I always say no, of course but they're persistent and if I say I don't want girls, they ask if I want boys! It's horrible, but this sort of thing is rife in S.E. Asia, sadly. When I decline both, they sometimes ask me why which is also sad. I'm usually silent, as they probably don't understand or want to know what I understand. The tuk tuk drivers are on commission of course which is why they're so persistent - but it's clear there's a lot of this industry to cater for the sort of people who will abuse such young people.
Cambodia is a country whose culture was completely destroyed during the Vietnam war. Some of it was secretly bombed but the worst bloodshed was at the hands of Pol Pot, which was an experiment into genicide. If anybody is interested in seeing it, there's an Oscar winning movie called the Killing Fields. Apparently it's quite realistic - as older Cambodians who see it say it's an accurate representaition of their younger lives. Cambodia is a place where people often don't care about others, except for a very small minority. They're often untrusting of one another. A broken society as a result of war. The contrast with Thailand next door is startling, but that's the difference that war made in the 70's here. The whole country was reset to zero.
One thing we did learn first hand through assiting missionaries is that supporting charities is best done as directly as possible. We wouldn't dream of giving money to corporate charities. We know first hand that money to those institutions rarely ends up helping those who need it most.
Sorry if it's too much of a response - I feel like I went off on one here but I couldn't stay silent knowing what we do.
I feel really strongly against child abuse because we've seen what it's like in larger scale. It's absolutely horrific.
I could go on and show pictures, tell more stories, etc. of Cambodia. It's very sad indeed - but I'd best stop here except to add; the real heroes in my experience here are the missionaries who dedicate their lives to helping others selflessly. They're the people I admire most in this life. The amount of difference they have made to others through their work with children in 35+ years is immeasurable and that's only the few we know personally.
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Last edited by The Stig; 04-17-2014 at 09:43 AM.