We are in Cambodia and today is my birthday! While I would love to celebrate with reckless abandon, I am sobered by a country and a people who look like they have been abandoned. Blame it on the effects of the civil war or a corrupt government, yet this society is a bit of a mess. If you don’t know anything about Cambodia’s civil war, and some of our younger followers may not, click here.
Cambodia has some pretty shocking statistics. Thirty-five percent of the population lives in poverty, which is living on less than US$0.45 a day. Sixty percent of the population is under 18 years of age, so many of those in poverty are kids. Their parents are poor and uneducated, some could be dying of AIDS while others simply cannot afford to send their kids to school. So in Phnom Pehn alone, there are upwards of 20,000 kids hitting the streets every day. Drugs, abuse, or trafficking into the sex industry is the fate of many of them.
We’ve only been in Cambodia a few days and have already seen the huge amount of poverty. Kids with no shoes, or even no clothes, begging. Desperate adults, grabbing our arms as we pass, hoping a rich white person will give them some money. Trash, flilth, smog, it’s all here! And there is much hope too. Many countries and organizations have come to aid the Cambodian people.
So while I would really love a piece of Tiramisu of my birthday, I am going to ask for something a lot more lasting from all of you. Would you please consider making a donation to help the kids and, really, all Cambodians?
Child Safe International started in Cambodia and has grown into a network across multiple countries, all working towards the safety of children. Please read more about how they are working with Cambodians in the hospitality industry to make sure they are able to help these kids. In one example, Child Safe can train a taxi driver to watch for foreigners who may be looking for sex with a child and give the driver the tools to turn that foreigner away.
Friends International is the global manager of the Child Safe programs and they offer a secure, tax-deductible way to donate via Paypal. ANY dollar amount is welcomed. Please be sure to indicate in the box that you wish to donate to the Child Safe Network in Cambodia.
Thanks so much for considering the gift of safety and love for a Cambodian child. Let’s make sure they can enjoy their birthdays too. Please donate today.
42 years old! Whoa.
Happy Birthday Karen! Thanks for sharing your experience with Cambodia. How easy it is for us back in the States to tune out the reality of others in the world. I appreciate your passion for these people and will look in giving back.
Thanks for considering it Dee!
Hugs to you,
Happy birthday Karen! I hope you have a great day. It is sad that too often it’s the children of the world pay the price for corrruption and crime. The lack of education and having basic needs of food and shelter forces them to survive the only way they can. It’s easy for us who are safe to turn a blind eye to those in need. I will make a donation in your name for your birthday.
Thank you for your continued compassion and love Scott. You are an inspiration.
How heartbreaking. And how wonderful of you to reach out to all of us. Will make a donation. Have a very happy birthday.
Thank you Kathy! Now, I should donate to your campaign!
Happy B-Day Bummette!
Love always & be safe!
Happy birthday Karen! I made a donation in your honor. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday.
The kids of Cambodia thank you! Your donation means a lot.
Well, I’m one of those friends you felt ‘abandoned by’ :), since I haven’t emailed or been able to read your blogs or watch videos since late Nov, so I’m catching up on ALL of them today. They’re just as entertaining, laughable and moving as they were from the first day you left. After reading about how you were feeling blue and ‘rethinking’ the length of your trip, etc I thought, mmmmmm, what can I say that could make a difference for you. Well, after reading THIS blog I FOUND IT! – YOU are the voices and the ‘deliverers’ to ALL OF US who can’t be there and feel the raw emotion and experiences that YOU CAN BRING TO US thru YOUR words and experiences; and show us what the world has, good and bad, that we NEED to be aware of, so that we don’t forget how blessed we are, and how much more there is out there – outside of ourselves – for us to learn and MAYBE be able to make a difference somewhere. I’m sooooo glad you have chosen the path of less traveled locations to give us that non-tourist view of places and countries that we may only think about once a year – when we see an article in section 2, page 5 of the newspaper that tells of the sadness that others deal with every day. You are so many peoples’ heroes!
Keep trekking on. Your adventure is important in some many ways and to so many,
Thanks Pam! You are so very sweet. At times I feel like giving in and then I have thought about the others out there and the things we are teaching them. While not our original intention, it’s a pleasant outcome. Now, if I could teach with better WI-Fi connections, comfier beds and nicer reading lights, I’d be set! Oh, some goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and whole wheat bread would be nice too. Wait a minute……..
Goat cheese and sundried tomatoes??? Well, looks like you got some DELICIOUS food in Penang! That’s worth it all,right?? And cooking too – how fun – I’m jealous!!!! :)
Malaysia was a good food place. Cambodia, not so much. I hear things will get tastier in Thailand. Cheers Girl!
PS: stop kicking my butt at Words With Friends. ;)