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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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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