This is day 3 of my 30 day writing challenge. To view all posts in the challenge please click here.
Today’s prompt is to write about one amazing thing I’ve done abroad. Hands down, without a doubt, the first thing that came to my mind was volunteering in Cambodia. It wasn’t amazing in the sense that every moment was enjoyable but more like the trip impacted me heavily and challenged everything I thought I knew. At the risk of sounding cliche, it totally changed my life.
I’ve mentioned my time in Cambodia briefly (a lot) on my blog before but if you don’t know, I volunteered with girls who had been rescued from sex trafficking- girls as young as 4 and 5. The decision to go came after watching a series of documentaries about sex trafficking and I was so inspired hearing about the rescue homes that were being set up to help. I understood that human trafficking was a global problem but I was drawn to one very specific home in Phnom Penh- SHE rescue home (shaping her eternity).
I began fundraising and was soon off to Cambodia to be part of a team with 7 other girls from around the world. The trip completely opened my eyes and I began to understand just how frightening being a young girl in Cambodia must be. There, women are compared to white cloth and men to gold, which means men are strong and never lose value but women are stained easily. Some of the girls we worked with had been sold to pimps by their own families which was totally unimaginable and upsetting to me. We saw young girls outside bars every night, dressed to the nines under the watchful eye of creepy old men- their “bosses”. I couldn’t believe I was seeing this all with my own eyes.
But although I saw a lot of disturbing and heartbreaking things, I also got to see the flip-side. We got to meet an amazing Australian man named John who ran a Sunday school there to help those in poverty. His story was absolutely incredible and he told us about how he persevered with his good work even after being axed in the head by those who tried to prevent it. In the same morning we helped feed over 1500 people and got to listen to the Sunday school children singing. I still get chills when I think about that because everyone in the room could just feel the peace and contentment pouring out of them as they sang- there was no more fear.
At SHE, we got to see the kids being kids again- laughing and running around outside, showing us their best dance moves and screaming with excitement when they found out we were baking cakes. The work they do at SHE is honestly incredible and I could tell the girls felt completely safe and carefree there. If you’d like to donate to SHE or find out more about what they do, click here.
We did a lot of other stuff in Phnom Penh which included acting in a play at a children’s church, reading to and playing games with kids in in slums, and visiting a few organisations that create jobs for women so that they don’t have to resort to prostitution to make money. Instead they have the opportunity to do jobs such sewing clothes, blankets and bags etc. or beauty related things at women-only massage parlours.
During my time there I got to travel around like a local, learn about Cambodian history (including a visit to the killing fields), meet so many inspiring people and truly learn how incredibly blessed I’ve been in life. An experience I will never forget.