Earlier this year we travelled to South East Asia in search of projects for our charity to support. Our search lead us to Cambodia, an incredible country in the heart of Asia. Home to the world-renowned Angkor Temples and once the epicentre of the great Khmer Empire which spanned neighbouring countries including Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. In recent history Cambodia has been devastated by war, poverty and political unrest. And yet despite these struggles it is an enchanting country, and you cannot help but admire the optimism, spirit and friendliness of the Khmer people.
We were deeply affected by the love, wonder and the plight of the children we met there. Many Cambodians live on less than $2 a day, and many children are made to work on the streets where they sell books, post cards, bracelets or anything else they can in exchange for one dollar. When a child’s farther may work a 12hr day for the same amount, you quickly understand that it’s lucrative business and as soon as children can talk they can contribute to a family’s income. It’s a heart wrenching situation, because giving to street kids actually encourages this behaviour, stops them going to school and locks them into a cycle of poverty. We wanted to heed the words of the great sage Martin Luther King Jnr and find a way to cure the injustice at the causal source.
Whilst visiting a great Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant called The Peace Café in Angkor we came across a flyer for a charity called The Trailblazer Foundation. The laws of synchronicity were surely at play here.
The Trailblazer Foundation works with the poorest communities in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, including many villages in the surrounding countryside. Their four step approach focuses on improving health, food & water security, education and economic development in rural Cambodia in ways that are self-sustaining for the individuals and communities they serve.
The Trailblazer Foundation was founded in 2005 by Chris and Scott Coates and Karin Ralph, who were inspired to start the charity after being touched by the affability of the Cambodian people, and the apparent needs they have in their daily struggle to survive. Trailblazer brings fifteen years of on-the-ground and in-the-community experience to the task of providing rural Cambodian families with clean water, health care, sufficient food, easy-to-access education, and sustainable incomes.
Thank you to all PHB customers for your continuing support, together we have been able to make a donation to The Trailblazer Foundation that will be used in their current project of building a primary school in Sret village that will serve 1,000 students. The money we donate will also help to build wells, install latrines and provide bicycles to secondary school children in rural areas so they can have access to education.
We hope you will join us in continuing to support The Trailblazer Foundation throughout 2016. You can help #SpreadTheLove right now for free by sharing this post. To find out more about The Trailblazer Foundation, to make a donation or to volunteer with them in Cambodia visit: www.thetrailblazerfoundation.org. (If you do, please let us know!)
One Love x
Rose, John & Sally