I believe in people…..
I believe there is good in the world….
I believe that people have good intentions….
I also believe there is evil in the world….
I believe people take advantage of others…
And I believe that people can start with good intentions, and get greedy….
Compassion for people hits me hard when I hear of people that are struggling and in desperate need of support. Living overseas has made an even bigger impact on my compassion as I saw children in both Yemen and Nigeria living in unsanitary and neglected situations. In Yemen, children were used as bait to beg at busy intersections while handing over any money to adults that were off to the side out of harm's way. So, instead of giving out coins, we started handing out hot dogs or food items as we stopped at intersections. Knowing we were filling bellies instead of watching children give their money to adults (who then turned around to buy qat….a local tobacco type substance), helped us to know that we were directly filling a need.
I believe that most organizations start out with good intentions, and want to directly impact the people that are in need. However, I also believe that money changes things both positively and negatively. There is a fine line that can be crossed if the organization does not keep the heart of the mission at the forefront.
Several years ago, I heard of this organization called Sak Saum. My sister had become a spokesperson for this organization in Denver, Colorado and I learned about the heart of their mission. The home base for
Saum is in Cambodia with ties to both Michigan and Colorado. Ginny Hanson, the founder, moved to Cambodia to support the need for women and children that were sold into the sex industry. Not only are children stolen from their parents, but parents also found themselves desperate enough to sell their children in order to have the funds to survive. Oftentimes they were tricked into letting their children go thinking that they would be a “housekeeper” or “nanny” for some wealthy person that would keep their child safe, AND sometimes they knew what was going to happen to their child, but felt the sacrifice was necessary to save their other children. It is tragic and devastating.
Sak Saum is not just an organization that rescues women and children from the sex industry, but they set up these families with sustainable skills so that they are not tempted by the money that would drive them right back to the same awful situation. Sak Saum trains the women rescued to create a business for themselves or obtain skills to give them a sustainable wage. The girls learn how to sew and make products that are sold all over the world.
About 7 years ago, we got a first hand tour of the operation when I took my family to Cambodia as part of our vacation. It was beautiful to see the impact Ginny has directly on the lives of the women, men, and children that are in her care. One particular girl stood out the most, Mary, who was blind. Mary is working as a creative artist by hand painting (splash painting) the wallets and purses in the production. The picture below is of my family, Ginny, and Mary. Mary desperately wanted to be in a picture with my son!
This organization fits part of our mission @thesoulfulcup by inspiring people to create and make an impact on the world. We are selling Sak Saum products at our store to support the people of Cambodia. Stop by the cafe to check out our merchandise.
More information about Sak Saum can be found on their website at https://www.saksaum.com/