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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Using Spring Harvest as a Springboard

We have just returned from one of the biggest Christian events of the year; Spring Harvest at Minehead. It was a great opportunity for us to promote  Helping Hand Cambodia and hopefully gain more sponsors, more supporters and make others aware of the plight of those living in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We hope that this has been achieved and will wait to see the full response in the next few days and weeks. Thank you to all who came along and supported us. Over £500 was raised 🙂

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Not only do we enable the sponsoring of children from the slums but are also able to help in other, practical ways. One of these projects that is happening at the moment is the building of a bridge to a house with a family of 9 children (there is another on the way soon!) After putting out an appeal people were generous in their donations and the old bridge is now being dismantled and a new one built. This means so much to this family who would be unable to fund this themselves but are fortunate that the father is a construction worker so is able to build it himself with a little help from his friends.

One of our students was given a donation and when asked what she wanted immediately said that she would like extra English lessons. With the money left over she said that she would like a new uniform for her government school, new shoes for school and a new bag….for school. Their education and schooling means so much to them !28795599_1949723765051963_3001694445367208111_n

Every month Helping Hand Cambodia awards certificates to the most improved students in their class grading each month. Morn Sokmait and Theara were the recipients for the last two months

We are fortunate that other people help and support the work that we do in Cambodia in many different ways. Vuthy and Channy are two friends of ours and each have offered to help in their own way. Vuthy has said that he will provide books and pens for all our children each year and Channy will donate a bag from her own clothing and fashion accessory business to any child that comes in the top three of their class grading. Thank you to both.27972787_1458386647591851_4876569046526696391_n

It was nice to be able to have a “team photo” with all the children, Chanthy and the school Principle just before I flew home. These children are so pleased with the opportunity that they now have and are all so keen to do well as they know that it is their opportunity to move on in life and be a positive part of Cambodia’s future.28059141_1932314630126210_3883728326721049071_n

As I said earlier people help in different ways and it was a pleasure to be able to pass on some dresses that had been made especially for some of the children in the slums…..why shouldn’t they look smart ?! Thank you to the person who made and donated these.28959443_1951342798223393_2371186689910173159_n

It was so good to see Ra Kanha come 2nd in her class grading last month. She really is a clever and dedicated young girl and works very hard…..Well Done !!29510935_1967489006608772_3441133306843950926_n

Thank you to all who support the work that we do in one way or another, without you we would not be able to initiate changing lives in the slum. If you would like to find out more about the work of Helping Hand Cambodia, sponsor a child, sponsor a family with rice each month, become a prayer partner or have any questions at all please email me at duncan2008bell@aol.com.

Yet I call to mind and therefor I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassion’s never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

 

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Happy in a land without Brexit.

So let’s face it Brexit is mostly about money (all about money ?)….how does it effect me, will I be better off, how secure is my job? Most of the Cambodians and families that Helping Hand Cambodia is trying to help have no money and I am sure would find the whole Brexit thing quite amusing; I find it amusing as well as being with those who have nothing puts my life in perspective…..

Being back in Phnom Penh it is so good to be able to meet up with the children again and see how they are getting on, not just at school but also to see how much they are growing up. With a generous donation from some people back home we were able to take the children, and one friend, on a boat trip along The Riverfront with pizza, chicken and coke for lunch. This is the first time any of the children have been to this, tourist, part of Phnom Penh and the first time they have ever been on a boat.P1150359 (3)

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It was good to meet up with the Principle of Beltei School again. He has always been very supportive of what Helping Hand Cambodia is doing to help the children in the slums and has promised to help as much as he can in the future. He himself did not start proper schooling until he was 11 years old and can appreciate and see the potential in the children we are helping.28056403_334237920423857_3803844073304392032_nP1150629

Helping Hand Cambodia now supports 12 families with rice each month through our rice sponsorship scheme from as little as £10 a month. This may seem a very unexciting project to support but a lot of the people/families living in the slums have very little and providing an amount of rice each month, their staple diet, really helps them.  For more information please see Rice Sponsor.P1150015P1150030P1150028It was a delight to be able to take out and give nearly 50 pairs of shoes and flip flops to those in the slums where we work. Many people contributed and a word of thanks goes to Poundland on the Isle of Wight for their contribution.P1140890

 

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It is a small world. My friend Nadine who I used to work with at Waitrose on the Isle of Wight is currently travelling around Asia with two of her friends. She happened to be in Phnom Penh the same time as me so it was good to meet up with her again and take her to the slums in which we work and introduce her and her friends to our friends we work with and try and help. I am pretty sure they made lots of new friends.P1140995P1140953P1140947P1140936

 

 

 

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So Good To Be Back

So I am now back in Cambodia for the seventh time in six years, and as always it is good to be back. I have much to do this time and it is also an opportunity to catch up with Chanthy Chen who is the Cambodian coordinator for Helping Hand Cambodia. Without her the charity would not be what it is today and we would not have 26 children sponsored so far.

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Chanthy Chen. Helping Hand’s Cambodian Coordinator

I was invited to go to Kep for a couple of days at the start of the week by my friends from Elim Church as they were having a planning meeting on the way forward for their Church. They have planted a church there already and are eager to plant more churches outside Phnom Penh in the coming years……..I am sure this will happen.

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Dave Allen and Chamnap Seang. Pastors of Elim Church Phnom Penh

On my first visit to the slums I was able to give out the baby clothes that had been donated by friends on the Isle of Wight and as always there was a bit of a scrum for the items given……never enough but greatly appreciated.27399999_1348598968578788_1580674661_n27496528_1348598488578836_1877567623_nP1140776

It was good to meet with friends again and after six months away it was easy to see how all the children are growing up. Although the families who live in these slums are incredibly poor there is a real sense of community and friendship amongst themselves and to others.P1140786P1140736P1140749 (2)

Thank to all who are following the work of Helping Hand Cambodia. What we are doing is all God’s work and He is just leading and empowering us.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

 

 

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My Cambodian Visit by Kate Hurr Russell

In July 2017 I had the opportunity to fulfil a dream. A dream of meeting and connecting with people in the slums.

Through family friends I was put in contact with Duncan. We had the opportunity to meet on the last day of my visit in Cambodia and the first day of one of his trips.

When we entered the slum, I was fortunate enough to have all the children run up to me, try and talk to me and hold my hands as we walked around26855802_10213898703674488_24587130_n

I was able to give these children some books, stationary, stickers and bubbles I had bought from home.

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We were invited into the homes of some of the sponsored children, many of whom were similar ages to my three daughters. As they proudly showed me their work, I was amazed at the standard of education these sponsored children were receiving. These children were learning the same maths as my children in Australia and were so grateful for the education they were receiving. They managed to study in an environment where the whole family ate, slept and lived in the one room.26855382_10213898701114424_1291536496_n26942987_10213898700554410_1074369215_n

While I was in Srey Phoeun’s home, where I humbly received a very welcomed cold drink, I had the pleasure of meeting her friend. This girl was not sponsored and went to the local school and I realised she did not have the same privilege and opportunity, through education, to change her or her family’s life. The comparison of these families to mine touched my heart. It was at this moment that I started thinking how could I make a difference.

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When I first returned home I struggled to get Cambodia and the children there out of my mind. I told my children, family and friends all about the extreme poverty in this country, the slum and how I truly wanted to make a difference. I had my first opportunity a month later when one of my daughters was turning 16 and wanted to give to charity as part of her present. I purchased on her behalf a donation of a bag of rice. I knew that every cent I was spending would be going to this person.

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Mrs Pheom Chan Tol who received the donation of rice from Kate

A couple of months later I decided that I had to do something to help educate at least one child in the slum I had visited. As a single mum, studying at university I knew first-hand how education can change the opportunities in people’s lives. As sponsoring a child myself was financially not an option while I was at university, I decided to get a group of 16 local mothers and sponsor a child together.  Our child will be starting school in January.

 

As I had also been studying slums at uni I had learned that having clean water can have a significant improvement to people’s health, At Christmas time I was responsible for buying the combined family present for my dad and step mum and they had all the material possessions they wanted. So I decided the best thing to get them was a gift to help others. I decided to contact Duncan again and I organised a gift to get water connected to someone’s home and a bag of rice for a lady in the slum.

I look forward to continuing to think of ways to help the people from this village and hopefully one day I will return and see the transformation of this village and the people who live there.

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