Cambodia Bound – How can I help?

Aloha All,

I have a travel2change opportunity and need your imagination, intuition and experience dreaming up project ideas. Our travel2change community exists to make travel a more beneficial, sustainable, productive endeavor for our planet and its many inhabitants. We can utilize our diversity of backgrounds, locations and expertise to dream, plan and realize projects that help promote growth and prosperity for our planet, our community and ourselves. Thus, I would be delighted to hear your ideas and input where my time may be best spent!

Travel2change is near and dear to my heart. I have been involved with the organization since its inception developing, promoting and generally helping in any capacity. I graduated May 2011 from Hawaii Pacific University and still live in the city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. I am a competitive paddler in Hawaiian Outrigger Canoes and am an absolute outdoor enthusiast.

In the Hawaiian language, the word aloha has many meanings. Acting with aloha means treating others whether they are family, friend, neighbor or stranger with affection, peace, compassion and mercy. I plan to be an ambassador of aloha during my travels.

I will be traveling for two weeks in Cambodia, an exotic South East Asian destination with a tumultuous history and impressive resilience. I plan to spend my days primarily in the capital city Phnom Penh, interacting, learning and serving. My life feels meaningless without serving others. To me, service means giving of my time and efforts. As Kahlil Gibran said in a collection of his works titled The Prophet, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

I know the first steps taken toward producing meaningful impact must be learning and planning. I am striving to learn about the local community before my travel, discover their needs and recognize what varieties of service have worked and what has not. My constrained planning time and the short stay duration reduce the types of projects I could take part in and feasibly make an impact. Joining with a local organization with an existing team to advance an ongoing project would be ideal. As an outsider, I can’t possibly recognize where I’m needed like a local. The travel2change community can easily amplify my research endeavors and be an iatrical part of making this journey a success.

During my initial research, I was disheartened by reports and articles about Cambodia’s debilitating “orphanage tourism.” These reports tell about parents abandoning their children or even selling them to orphanages after they have made claims that their children will have better lives apart from their families. The children are used by the orphanages to solicit money and donations from travelers yearning to help these children and in turn becoming involved in a degrading industry.

If I can find a school or a reputable orphanage to work with I would love to interact, collaborate, and assist in any capacity they need. I would love to help local children. Maybe working on an inoculation or literacy campaign, or helping victims of human trafficking. I will give of my time, my attention, my strength, and my intelligence however possible.

Are you aware of a local organization that could use a volunteer?

Have you lived, traveled or volunteered in the area and are willing to share about your experience?

Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated! Please comment…


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