The story so far…..

I have been in Cambodia now just 18 days and a lot has been happening 🙂 Here is a overview on what has been going on with Helping Hand Cambodia. Thank you to all who make this happen and help and support the work that we are doing in the slums where we work.

After travelling for 27 hours it was a nice surprise to be met by our children with gifts and a cake.50595996_2388328444524824_7178575765502427136_nWe took the children to Elim Church, Phnom Penh on Sunday for worship and a youth event, enjoyed by all….especially the meal.50603676_1808673812571299_7432437529883705344_nWith our new building being so close to the slum in which we work it is so nice and easy to be able to just wander in and say hello…..51214613_2394552523902416_6466611591033913344_nChanthy will often visit our students and meet with the families…50740832_2395917887099213_9062953608189837312_nWith money donated by her sponsor Ny Chy Ya was able to have the glasses that she needed.

We were blessed with having some books and a table donated; they are greatly appreciated and widely used.50899066_2399121886778813_6499914771742064640_n51486445_2412925098731825_6264176888881610752_nSrey Mey was one of the first children to be sponsored by Helping Hand Cambodia and it is always nice to meet her and her family and spend time relaxing in their small home.51405610_2400434049980930_1969831401066856448_n50411468_2400741643283504_656278909863591936_nIt was a privilege to have Meth Vanthy come to speak to our children about hope and ambition. He has founded his own music and arts school and is widely respected having worked for other charities in Cambodia.51068806_2166885193369355_7168253159498842112_n51689152_2166885170036024_323989217296252928_n (1)Although we had no lessons last week due to a lot of places having holidays because of Chinese New Year celebrations we still had four students turn up regularly for extra classes !!51541323_2409969122360756_6558356563537428480_nWith money donated we are now able to supply this family with rice each month. They live just across from our building and the parents earn a living by collecting rubbish (tin cans, plastic bottles etc) for recycling. There house often gets visited by snakes at night…50949606_162793301270758_3996074423017799680_nWe were also able to take another child to the opticians to buy him new glasses. He had lost his old pair just a few days ago. His eyesight is so bad that he cannot attend school without them so with money donated we were able to buy him new ones.51769694_379021592889779_7784409369646465024_n

On Sunday we took Helping Hand’s children plus one friend or family to Grand Phnom Penh Water Park for a day of fun. There was over 60 of us altogether including helpers and we had such a good time spending over four hours there 🙂 Thank you to the sponsors who donated towards this.51879020_291024051564057_5220008981321220096_n Today we were able to give out rice to those who are supported by our rice sponsorship scheme. Below are pictured some of our recipients…51991443_323567964951691_3456434975098798080_n Thank you to all those who support the work that we are doing be it financially, prayerfully or practically. If you would like to know more about the work of Helping Hand Cambodia please email me at duncan2008bell@aol.com

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Back to a land that knows nothing of Brexit……

This is my first post since returning from my last trip to Cambodia in September,too long to leave it really especially with all that has gone on with Helping Hand Cambodia. It is nice to be leaving Brexit behind when I travel next Tuesday and to see the work that is steadily growing in the slum in which we work.

 

Since my last trip Chanthy is now working full time for the charity, and with the help of two volunteer teachers we are able to hold lessons from Monday to Friday at the building we now rent which is right next to the slum in which we work. These lessons are mainly “Homework Support” and English.

 

 

The children that we sponsor come from incredibly poor backgrounds and do not have the support mechanisms that other children attending Beltei International School have i.e. laptops, IPads, internet access and educated parents to help them with their homework  (a lot of our children’s parents cannot read or write….) and anything else school related out of school hours. With our new building and Chanthy and the volunteers we can now offer that support for our children.

 

 

We had no idea how many of our children would turn up or how keen they would be to attend “more school”….but the result has been amazing. Nearly all the children who are able to attend do so. We merely supplement their teachings at Beltei and I am so grateful to all who have made this happen. But the main point is that it IS making a difference, not only are our children improving and becoming more consistent in their results but there is more and more a sense of community between everyone involved; the children, Chanthy, the volunteers, the children’s families and others who are involved one way or another with the charity. We are also now able to offer Traditional Cambodian Dancing to our students which is such a Blessing and attended by many of the children.

 

Recently our older students went on a day trip with a local Church and their youth group and had an opportunity to hear about Jesus and Christianity. Virtually all of our children come from Buddhist families so have no knowledge of any other faith. 48982039_537196346796234_1576930271024906240_n49133838_917858398407444_9033956480088276992_nAs always we award a certificate to the most improved student in their class grading each month. Well done to Chan Sreyroth and Ren SreyThet…..47360230_216769069218691_7857452349441179648_n48377258_491919897881853_3708684576260882432_n

 

Thank you to all who have made this happen; sponsors, supporters, those who donate and those who pray. May this just be the beginning…..

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Chanthy with one of our volunteers and some of our students

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Much to do in a land without Brexit….

So I arrived for my 10th visit to Cambodia just over 10 days ago….a land far removed from Brexit and the money issues that this entails. From one extreme to another is a phrase that is certainly relevant…

Money was an issue before I had even left the country. Having checked in my luggage I was told that I could only take one bag, not two; so I could either put all my allowance into one bag (26Kg!) or pay excess of £65…. Not wanting to pay (or having the extra money!) I ask the supervisor if she would use her discretion as one bag was full of clothes for children and babies in the slums where we work; the nice supervisor said yes 🙂P1160285

So the children’s and baby clothes that had “weighed me down” were gladly appreciated by many in the slums in which Helping Hand Cambodia works.

The amazing Chris Miller completed The South Coast Challenge recently mostly running 100 Km in a time of just under 23 hours and 40 minutes. Out of 2,000 starters Chris finished in 151 place (87th male) with only 34 % of participants finishing. He has raised over £1,000 for the charity which will be used to equip the new building we have now moved into with tables, chairs, a laptop for the teachers, projector and other necessary items.40265466_2177411808949823_2623428653609910272_n

Last weekend we moved into our new building. We rent the top two floors and roof space of a house right next to the slum in which we work…it is just perfect for our needs and with Chanthy starting full time for us now things are really falling into place. We also have two other ladies, who are well qualified, who will be helping by teaching English and helping the children with their homework as we need to help and support the children as much as we can outside of school hours.P1160792P1160604

So the move to our new building was straightforward enough, not too much to move and able to get it all in a tuk tuk. 40654900_2182154161808921_7276911223587733504_n Helping Hand Cambodia now has 29 children sponsored. If you would like to find out more about our sponsorship and the work that we do in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia please contact me at duncan2008bell@aol.com. or see Helping Hand Cambodia

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

 

 

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A lot has Been Happening Lately

It has been about one month since I last posted a blog and about two months since I actually wrote one myself…..too long. So here is a catch up of what has been happening with Helping Hand Cambodia during the last few weeks (a lot !!) told mostly by pictures……

Sem Somonin came first in his class for his extra English studies. Well done, his parents are so proud of him.37796189_1557633064342043_7465688088652546048_n

A friend of mine organised for her and her work colleagues to come and have some fun and play games with the children in the slum. They played football and other games and left gifts for the children to play with after they left. Thank you Thoeun and your friends 🙂

 

It was so nice to see Kate back in Cambodia again, this time with her eldest daughter. Kate and her friends sponsor one of the girls in the slum to go to Beltei International School and during their trip around Cambodia spent time with her sponsored child in the slum and others that they help and support.

Ra Kanha came 3rd in her class this term out of 35; well done you work very hard and are always in the top 3 for your class grading.37161137_2100635886627416_4523254742041755648_n

The charity was Blessed when a supporter donated 3 IPads for the children’s use. Not only this but she also raised over £600 just by selling her second hand books at her local Church!!36405656_2075047065852965_6404045720101322752_n

The charity was also Blessed to have James Reihl come and visit and give out football kits and other items. He also introduced a family to Jenga.

James returned a couple of weeks later with his brother Patrick…..this time they brought Uno…

A friend of Helping Hand Cambodia is going to do a sponsored run for us to help raise money to equip the new building that we will be moving into at the start of September. He will be running 100 Km at the end of August as we try to raise £2,000 for tables, chairs. a projector, computers etc. Please see our Just Giving Page for The South Coast Challenge for more information or follow Chris Miller’s training on our Facebook Page  for this sponsored event.35114092_2049524011738604_367219270016303104_n

A friend of Chanthy’s was good enough to donate some clothes to those in the slums.

It was Morn Sreymait and Phan Him Leng who got the awards for the two most improved students in their class grading over the last two months. Well done !!

A friend of mine who has her own clothing business has said that she will award bags to any student that gets in the top three of their class grading each month. Well done to the four young girls who achieved this. Thank you Channy.34433455_2042867295737609_4024986605256179712_n

We were also Blessed when we we donated some unwanted school books from a friend who works at one of the bigger schools here in Phnom Penh. Thank you Dave as this helps us a lot.33865490_1469262363179114_526501611111972864_n

For more information on what God is doing in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia please see our Helping Hand Cambodia Facebook Page or contact me at duncan2008bell@aol.com.

Thank you

 

 

 

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Jenny and Denham

A while ago some friends of mine visited the slum in which Helping Hand Cambodia works. Here is Jenny’s account of their visit and the impact it had on them. Thank you both for your time and gifts that were given.

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and He will reward them for what they have done.”  Proverbs 19:1726992611_2051651041757885_5421902008591230259_n

Yesterday we visited a project working in the slums just on the outskirts of Phnom Penh called ‘Helping Hand Cambodia’. We arrived in Cambodia after a 7 hour bus journey from Vietnam and within an hour we were riding in a Tuk Tuk across the city. It was the only time we could go as it’s a whistle stop tour for us in Phnom Penh. Our friend Duncan, who founded the charity, organised Chanthy to take us to the slums. She was amazing and such a blessing. She has a real heart for what the project is doing and we could see she is so loved by everyone there. She told us she visits the families in the slums every week.
What Helping Hands are doing is so inspirational. They encourage people to sponsor children to have an education and fulfill their potential. They also provide food for families in need and so much more. The people were so welcoming and full of joy to see us. They were so hospitable and willing to share with us the little they had. It was wonderful to give the children flip flops, underwear, t-shirts and sweets. A small token really but not enough for what they really need.
I had to keep myself composed a few times as their stories are so harrowing.
I said to Denham it seems the cycle cannot be broken unless they are helped. Denham also said that they need hope. There was such a lack of the basic needs that are a necessity to live. Children without clothes, babies without nappies or milk, elderly people without families and no-one to support them or be left to die. No sanitation and for many families inadequate shelters in which they live. There is also a great deal of sickness. But most importantly not enough food.
I felt so compelled for us to pray for some people for healing, three ladies who were sick and one lady who was sick but had also lost her husband last month. All the family, the Mother, two daughters and son have HIV.
Helping Hands sponsors one of the daughters for her education. When we arrived this lady had hidden in an alleyway and Chanthy had to encourage her out. I saw so much pain in her eyes which compelled me to ask Chanthy if I could pray for her. I hugged her afterwards as Chanthy had explained her story to us and I wanted her to know she is loved.
There was one young girl who lives without parents as they have both died and she herself has been left with HIV.
Loss, sickness, domestic violence, husbands in prison, people with no families.
I don’t quite know what to say about the slums. I think it broke my heart.
It really was a privilege to go and see these lovely people and we’re so grateful for the opportunity we had to spend time with them.
Thank you Duncan, Chanthy and all at Helping Hand Cambodia.
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So Far Away Yet So Near….

The last couple of weeks has been a great time for Helping Hand Cambodia. On Thursday and  last Sunday we did a “first” when two of our sponsors spoke with their sponsored children who are from one of the slums in Phnom Penh via Skype. Both spoke for about one hour and we have already agreed that we will do it again one day soon. This is something that we hope to offer to all the sponsors at some point but may well wait until Chanthy, our Cambodian Coordinator, starts with us full time in September. Please read below for one of the sponsor’s, Jan, thoughts on this and her sponsorship of a child.24331139_1844487752242232_728908145_n

My friend and I went to visit a missionary friend in Cambodia in October 2016, to see the work she does there and get involved accordingly.
Whilst there, staying in the same lodgings we met Duncan from Helping Hand. He took us around the slums he visits and I was overwhelmed by their living conditions. They are SO poor, unbelievably poor, yet a smiling face greets you each time you visit.Their little shacks are at the best of times mere planks of wood made into huts with whatever materials they can find to help keep them from the elements of the weather changes. Mostly rubbish and raw sewage surround them.It is a sight I will never forget.
I had been richly blessed by donations from my local church to spend as I felt the need so managed to buy rice packs for families , get a pump mended so they could remove water from their homes, and donate to other charities.
I was so moved by the work of Helping Hand and their child sponsorship scheme that I decided to sponsor a child there and then. I was given a 12 year old girl, and was blessed to meet her family while I was there. Mum was at home when I went with Helping Hand (Duncan and Chanthy) to visit them and she was so thrilled by my promise of sponsorship. She hugged and hugged me and her smile was from ear to ear! Although Mum and Dad do little jobs their only hope of getting out of the slums is that in this case the eldest daughter is given a good schooling and able to learn English.
I have received frequent feedback from Helping Hand about my sponsored child, with lots of photos,letters, little gifts etc and about her progress in school, which is very consistent and she is doing well.
A couple of weeks ago it was made possible for me to have a video call to my sponsored child who was at home with her family. That was the ICING ON THE CAKE !!! I was so excited and overjoyed to see the difference my sponsorship is making to this lovely girl and her family. They were all happy and smiling and she kept saying thank you I love you! It is very humbling to see how little these people have materially but their beautiful smiles and thankful hearts make sponsorship so worthwhile. They are such lovely people. Such a small part of our lives, touching theirs, yet in return makes you realise that every little counts. They feel blessed but I feel more blessed than them having this opportunity to help in some small way.
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If you would like to know more about our work and activities in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia or would like to find out more about sponsoring a child to go to Beltei International School please contact me at duncan2008bell@aol.com.

 

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Building Bridges

As well as arranging for the sponsorship of children from the slums of Phnom Penh to go to Beltei International School we also try to help out in the slums in which Helping Hand Cambodia works in practical ways as well. One of the children that is sponsored lives in a house that is only reachable by a bridge. This bridge was very old and very unsafe and needed repairing……no, replacing! So I put out an appeal for funds and people were very generous in their response. Enough money was given and a new bridge was built. This is a real blessing for this family as mother has just given birth to her 9th child and the father can only find occasional work as a construction worker and other part time jobs.30221718_1983198861704453_766699809861361877_n30441038_1420283478077003_4478069847841832960_n

 

31564013_1441742639264420_8213961195086938112_n31776100_1441742719264412_3493945187942531072_n31682457_1441742712597746_6697921293892714496_nA big Thank You to those who donated and made this possible. It was probably a small amount to many of us in The West but it was an absolute Blessing to one family in the slum.

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