Back To The future…part 2

So on the 25th January I will be travelling back to Cambodia for the 7th time since I first visited in 2012 with my wife, and two youngest children, to work as missionaries. Since those first two years of living and working in Cambodia I have felt led to set up the charity Helping Hand Cambodia¬†which, primarily, facilitates the sponsorship of children from the slums of Phnom Penh to go to Beltei School, one of the best schools in Cambodia. With four more children being enrolled later this month that will be 26 in all; maybe not a great amount but that is 26 lives changed and 26 children able to follow and live their dreams ūüôā

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Helping Hand Cambodia’s children and friends during a trip to The National Museum

It was so good to be able to provide rice for two old ladies recently. Mrs Brak Soksan is 72 years old and Mrs Sok Ly is 78 and they both benefited from generous donations that were given as Christmas gifts to them from benefactors in England and Australia. Neither lady has family who look after them and they rely on friends and neighbours to help and support them. When they are able they will collect rubbish for re-cycling to earn some money. Thank you to Angela and Mike Stringer and Kate Hurr Russell and David and Kerrie Hurr as well as others who made this possible.26693946_1327582590680426_798986649_n26637880_1327582614013757_1274465990_n

It is also with a big thank you to Kate Hurr Russell for giving a gift of installing and providing water for Mrs Uk Sor for 1 year. Mrs Uk Sor lives in one of the slums in which Helping Hand Cambodia¬†works. This was a Christmas gift to Kate’s dad and step-mum and means that the money saved from paying Mrs Uk Sor’s water bill will help her provide for herself and three children as she no longer has a husband.26638059_1327635040675181_704935205_n

I will be taking out about 50 pairs shoes with me when I travel out this time to give to those in the slums. People have been very generous and a big thanks goes to Poundland in Newport, Isle of Wight who donated flip flops.P1140612P1140615P1140663

 

 

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Christmas Gift of Rice

Would you like to give a Christmas gift to a family in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia ? Then you now can with our Rice Gift Card. For just a small amount you can make a one off donation which will pay for an amount of rice to be given directly to a family in the slums in which Helping Hand Cambodia works. Why not give this to a friend who has everything for Christmas ?24312787_1034640843361743_4038884918024636879_n

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We can give you details and photo’s of the family who you bless if you wish. Please get in touch with us at helping.hand.cambodia@gmail.com or duncan2008bell@aol.com and we will arrange payment. Rest assured that every penny will go to providing rice.

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Christmas Tree Festival and other activities Helping Hand has been doing…

Here are some of the activities that Helping Hand has been up to in the last few weeks and what is happening in the near future. We are exhibiting a Christmas Tree at Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival this year between 7th and 10th December, probably the first Cambodian Christmas tree on the Island ?

We also recently promoted the charity at Newport Methodist Church Christmas Fair. We gave out plenty of literature and it was a good opportunity to talk to people and share about the charity and the work we are doing.

After having their school photo’s taken each of the children were give a photo. I was really quite taken with how much this meant to them all…….it re-enforced a real sense of community and belonging. Virtually all of the children come from the same slum in the south of Phnom Penh and it is so encouraging to see them doing well and making new friendships with one another.

The younger brother of one of the girls that is sponsored recently broke his glasses. Two years ago Helping Hand provided him with some glasses due to a donation at the time. Unfortunately he broke them and needed a new pair and, again due the generosity of a supporter, we were able to provide him with some. This means so much to Sothea as without them he really does have poor eyesight and is unable to study at school. The total cost of an eye check and brand new glasses was about ¬£25….maybe a small amount to many of us but this gift of a donation was such a Blessing to Sothea.

 

At the end of each month Chanthy will arrange the payment and collection of rice for those sponsored through Helping Hand. At the moment we help provide for just nine families from private donations. Giving a bag of rice to someone doesn’t sound very exciting but in these slums where these people live it is what they need; they are back to basics, that is food, water and shelter.24581281_1295515647220454_1515317823_n

It is so exciting to see the children from Helping Hand doing well at at school. There have been times when I have thought if this whole sponsorship thing would work…….but it does. Would the children be clever enough ? Most of their parents, if they have any, are uneducated and some can’t even read or write. Would they be disciplined enough ? They come from homes and environments without any structure, would they be prepared to go to school on a regular basis ? Would they mix with the other children as virtually all are from comfortable backgrounds ? Would they do their homework ? A lot of children in the slums are sent out to work by their parents so that they can bring in an income for the family as soon as they are old and strong enough, would the parents still encourage them to do their schoolwork ? The answer to all these questions is YES :)….but ultimately it works because it is God’s work. I and others are just stewards of this charity and we must continue to acknowledge Him in all that we do for Helping Hand Cambodia.

An example of the children doing well, and defying the odds, is Ra Kanha. We have said that any child coming first in their monthly class grading would be given a cake and a certificate as a reward. Last month Ra Kanha came first out of 35 students in her class……slum kids are smart kids, and happy kids, and intelligent kids, and kids with a future…

 

Would you like to be part of what we are doing, be it prayerfully, practically or just find out more information ?  If so please contact me at duncan2008bell@aol.com

 

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Helping Hand Cambodia update

So after the summer break Helping Hands children went back to school in their new uniforms. After meeting with the Director General of Beltei School earlier this year he agreed to help the charity and has assisted with our fees and given generously towards two new uniforms for each child. It is so good to see how much they like to wear their uniforms and look after them.22185071_1239825106122842_1263651778_n

A few weeks ago three of Helping Hand’s children were invited to a youth workshop as part of International Youth Day celebrations in Phnom Penh. During the day there was a competition in which all the students were asked to take part……and Srey Mey won. We were all so pleased for her and the bouquet of flowers that she was presented with were nearly as big as her !

 

We were blessed by being able to help provide rice for another lady in the slum last month. Kate, from Australia, visited Cambodia earlier this year and was keen to see the work of Helping Hand. She had a great time with the children and when her daughters birthday came round so wanted to give a donation of rice as her birthday present to her. The rice was donated to a lady who lives and works close to the slum where we work. She lives alone, apart from her two dogs she looks after, as her husband left her many years ago and earns a living by collecting rubbish to be re cycled. If this isn’t hard enough she lost part of her leg when she was just 16 years old after treading on a land mine. This bag of rice may only be a one off donation but it was really appreciated by Pheom Chan Thol. Thank you Kate.

I was invited to speak about the work of Helping Hand at Newport Congregational Church recently at their Harvest Supper. It was a good opportunity to share about our work and we are very grateful for the interest of those there and the donations given.

It was great to see that Nin had won an award for coming first in his school’s sports festival. School and education are not just about learning academic subjects but about other activities such as P.E and also, to a greater part, about making friends. Again it was not just Nin who was pleased with his award but his parents are really proud of him as well.22279906_1245642865541066_7060361531877426128_n

Thank you again to all our sponsors and supporters as without you we would not be able to report on the stories above as they would not be happening…..and lives would not be changing. As an organisation we sometimes are not sure what to do next or what decisions to make but we have confidence in the One who is leading us………

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”¬†declares the Lord.¬† ¬† ¬†Isaiah 55:8

 

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Busy Days part 2……

Here is a quick overview of what I was up to on the last three weeks of my time in Cambodia. Pictures say more than words so I will leave it to the pictures mostly….

Srey Pich was given her certificate for most improved Helping Hand student in April/May…a little overdue! Her father was very pleased for her as he goes off to sell his duck eggs.

It was a great pleasure to be able to give out gifts to the children in the slum that were donated by Niton Methodist Church Sunday School…..Thank you !!

It was a blessing to give out clothes that were donated as well.

Helping Hands latest two students were enrolled at Beltei School. We now have over 20 children sponsored…their future is now in their own hands #followandliveyourdreams.

Morn Nin was the first child to be sponsored and he was pleased to show us his certificate for coming 3rd out of 36 in his class.

Through our Rice Sponsorship scheme we are able to supply 20 Kg of rice each month to two more families, both with desperate needs

It was a pleasure to meet with Mr Ly Chheng the Director General and founder of Beltei International School. He is very supportive of the work that Helping Hand is doing and has given the children great incentives to do well.

Helping Hand is now a recognised Formal Charity (Local NGO) in Cambodia. This process took just three months and we have many people to thank for this. As Helping Hand does not translate into Cambodian we are know here as Cambodian Children’s Charity Organisation.

Lika and Chhorvin were two that helped with our application process and Chanthy and I took them out for lunch to say “Thank you”. Chanthy provided for lunch and I said thank you with some Isle of Wight cookies…..

With money donated we were able to take the children plus one friend/family to the cinema to see Despicable Me 3. Afterwards we went for a walk around the National Football Stadium (Olympic Stadium). Thank you to those who made this happen.

Thank you to all who follow and support our work here in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. If you would like to get involved, help in any way or simply find out more about what we do please email me at duncan2008bell@aol.com

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Busy Days……Part 1

So it was exciting times as I returned to Cambodia, Phnom Penh, and the slum’s in which Helping Hand works. I had gifts to give to some of the children from their sponsors, gifts that were given to me to bring from Niton Methodist Church Sunday School on the Isle of Wight, clothes that were donated as well as a laptop that is to be shared amongst some of the children we support. Carrying all this from England I was about 7 Kg over my luggage allowance……but fortunately they seemed to turn a blind eye (phew!). Here is just a bit of what I have been up to so far……

It was a pleasure to pass on some small gifts to Pisey and her brother and sister from her sponsor. Both her and her sister were given a letter as well which they both read out in English as soon as they opened them. Their English is so good and they are so keen to learn. They often practice each day by speaking English to each other.

Somonin was given his certificate for most improved child in his class grading last month, improving 17 places. His ambition is to become an architect one day, I am sure he will achieve this. His father is a retired teacher and knows the importance of a good education.

Srey Mey was one of the first children to be sponsored by Helping Hand and is one of the smartest. She made these beautiful paper flowers by herself which are a complete contrast to the environment in which she lives. Her mother works as a cleaner and does not get home until 10.30 at night so she has to look after her younger sister and brother until then; this includes cooking their evening meal. Her father left some years ago.

I am so thankful for the person who donated this laptop. It was given to Srey Poeun but she will share it with others at Helping Hand as I have seen how much a laptop can help the children with their studies. If anyone has a laptop they no longer need please get in touch……

We are so Blessed to have Chanthy Chen working for Helping Hand. She has so much respect from those who know her and the families we help in the slum. Basically she just gets things done and works so hard. Helping Hand would not be in the position it is now to help so many children and families if it were not for her.

 

 

 

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Back to the Future…

So here I am, back in Cambodia for what is my 6th visit. It was in 2012 that I first came out, with my wife and two youngest children, Edward and Lenna, to work as missionaries is this wonderful country. Never did I think that I would still be returning five years later. During this time Helping Hand Cambodia has been established with the main purpose being to enable people to sponsor children from the slums to attend Beltei School and give them the opportunity to move on in life and out of the slums. We also offer a rice sponsorship scheme so people can provide rice for families each month if they wish. Other activities have been provided as well with money donated including a trip to Tamao Zoo for the children sponsored and three each of their friends and a day trip to The Royal Palace and National Museum which was supported by our friends at KATVonline and Comfy Travel. We have also built a house with money donated.P1120872 (2)On my second day here I met up with Kate who had travelled from Australia to spend just a week in Cambodia. She brought gifts for the children in the slum and we spent the morning walking around the village and meeting the children and their families.P1130166

As you can see everyone enjoyed the morning, especially the children. We even found Spinners for sale in the village !

It was an absolute pleasure to meet up with this lovely family while travelling around Phnom Penh again. I used to get my coffee from them during my lunch breaks when I was working here about¬†four years ago.¬†They have run “Davy’s Shak” for about four years now serving some of the best Iced Coffee and cold drinks in Phnom Penh. Find them outside The National Museum….P1130196P1130198We will see what the future¬†holds for Helping Hand but we have to think of what we CAN do and not dwell on what has been achieved. Our aim is to give these children hope……and a future worth living.

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