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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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 🙂

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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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