“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Photo Credit: Alexis Lopez, Cambodia, 2015

In August we traveled to Cambodia on a humanitarian mission trip with a group of twenty people from Trinity Church, Miami, Florida. Our primary goal was to provide a mobile medical clinic for the children who attend Cambodian Care Ministries’ Light of Future Schools. There are now three Light of Future Schools with a total enrollment of approximately 500 children. We utilized medications provided by MAP International and provided the children with a pair of shoes fromThe Shoe That Grows.

Over a period of five days, we distributed 447 pair of shoes to Light of Future School students. Each one heard the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet prior to having their feet washed. Many of them raised their hand to receive Jesus after the lesson. Our nurses used the foot washing station as an opportunity to provide foot wound care to the children and assess their general health.

I cried for many of the children as the nurses worked on the infections, wounds, and parasites in their feet.

Photo Credit: Linda Freeman, Cambodia, 2016

In total, our six nurses served a total of 637 adults, children, and infants at our mobile medical clinic over a six-day period in four different villages. We left an additional 50 pair of shoes with Cambodian Care for children who will be enrolling in their schools this Fall.

Another highlight of the trip was initiating the first KTECH Academy cohort. My vision for KTECH Academy is to reduce the risk of women and children in developing countries becoming trapped in the sex trafficking industry by providing STEM skills training and creating jobs. This was our first opportunity to find out if the idea would come to life.

Cambodian Care (CC) selected twenty women to participate in this first cohort. They ranged in age from 15 years old to 67 years old with an average of 2.4 years of formal education. All of them have children, grandchildren, or siblings who attend one of the three CC Light of Future Schools. The majority of the women traveled from Kratie Province, five hours away from Phnom Penh. What they shared in common was a desire to learn and a hope that their learning would open the door to a better life for themselves and their families.

We began with our training with a session focused on women’s health and hygiene, taught by Kathy Medd, our team’s lead nurse practitioner. All of the ladies listened intently as Kathy explained the basics of women’s health through her translator. Based on their reactions, I believe they had never received this information before, including the information on women’s reproductive health. We decided quickly to give each lady a personal appointment with Kathy during class time to privately discuss women’s health questions and any current health concerns.

Following Kathy’s presentation, we began training for the Kid Power Organics Handwashing Project! Michele Lozano taught this portion of the class. Each lady learned why hand washing with soap is important and the basic Center of Disease Control (CDC) protocol for hand washing. Their “exam” was to demonstrate washing their own hands to Michele and then teach a student from the Light of Future School to wash their hands. Everyone passed the test!

Photo Credit: Gabriel Rivera, Cambodia, 2016
Photo Credit: Gabriel Rivera, Cambodia, 2016

While ladies were taking their test, JeanMarie Fouquet began his introduction to sewing workshop. Each lady learned how to thread a bobbin on a sewing machine, measure and cut the correct amount of fabric for a pattern, and cut pattern pieces. Each woman used these techniques to sew their own denim Kid Power Organics apron. They were so excited to be able to create their apron! In a few weeks, they will be wearing these aprons as their uniform in the CC Light of Future Schools as they conduct the Handwashing Project.

These women were willing to work together as a team and help each other succeed. Just as we work together to make a difference in Miami! Some ladies were able to learn the basic sewing techniques more quickly than others, but everyone worked together collaboratively to get the aprons completed. I was inspired by their enthusiasm and look forward to working together with them on our next KTECH Academy project.

This trip was very special not only because of the work we planned to do, but also because of people who made up our team. Some of them were mission trip veterans. Others had never traveled outside of the United States. Some of our team members didn’t travel with us at all. They were our support team members. They raised funds and gathered resources to make our project possible and also provided ongoing support to our group from home. All of our team members are people of compassion and action.

You are an important part of our team! We couldn’t do what we do, in Miami and around the world, without your prayers and support. You can give today by clicking here or by clicking on the Donate tab on the menu at the top of the page. Thank you for helping us share Peace with those in need!!

by Linda Freeman
Executive Director of the Peacemakers Family Center