"It's why Asia's Hope MUST succeed."

 Girls at Asia's Hope in Battambang, Cambodia get ready for school.

Girls at Asia's Hope in Battambang, Cambodia get ready for school.

It's 6:00 on a Wednesday morning, and I haven't slept much at all. Even though my transit schedule is relatively light  today -- a couple of hours in airports, and a two very short flights -- I always have trouble sleeping the night before I travel. Kori is going home -- back to work -- and I'm taking the kids to Thailand. 

We've said our goodbyes in Cambodia, and this morning my heart is full. Our ministry in Cambodia is absolutely flourishing. Our ten homes in Battambang and five in Prek Eng are overflowing with life and love and potential. As one first-time visitor told me this week, "We've supported orphan care projects in other places in the world, and we've seen a lot of different models. But Asia's Hope is so amazing; it's hard to imagine until you've seen it first-hand." 

This morning a story from The Guardian hit the Phnom Penh Post. Virginity for sale: inside Cambodia's shocking trade details a practice well known to those of us who work among the country's poor and vulnerable kids. And it's not just a practice, it's a single facet of a vast system of injustice wherein children are neglected, abandoned, raped, sold, exploited and trafficked -- often by their own family members. 

In the same edition, The Post featured an article about a four-year old girl who had been chained to a post all day for half her young life. Her mother had given her to her captor as collateral for a loan. The situation isn't unique. For Cambodia, it's not even exceptional. 

It's not just Cambodia. This kind of abuse and neglect happens all around the world. It's why we're also working in India and in Thailand. And it's why Asia's Hope must succeed. 

There are some in the aid and development world who are skeptical of the value of residential orphan care. They say things like, "An orphanage is a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem." Some even downplay the magnitude of the global human trafficking and orphan crises, insisting that "sex work" can be empowering for poor children and that orphaned and abandoned kids should always be kept in their communities and families of origin. 

As someone who personally reviews every single biography of every single child admitted to an Asia's Hope home, I can tell you that there is still a desperate need for high-quality, family-style residential orphan care for children who cannot be safely placed in their original families or communities. 

Today in Cambodia, you'll find both heaven and hell, often on the same street. In a place like Phnom Penh, you'll meet the very best and the very worst people imaginable. There is a real war between good and evil in places like Cambodia and as in all wars, the children suffer the most. 

Thank you for your support of Cambodian, Thai and Indian indigenous workers who, with the help of ministries like Asia's Hope, are fighting on the front lines -- fighting for the lives of children who cannot fight for themselves.

If you, your church or your business are looking for ways to directly support the vitally important work of Asia's Hope, please contact me today.

John McCollumComment