On day one of our immersion cycle tour we dine at SPOONS EGBOK restaurant. It’s a social enterprise that trains and supports young people aged 18-25 with incredibly poor and disadvantaged backgrounds. The restaurant has an authentic vibe and the food is delicious.
One of the incredible things about Cambodia is the number of NGOs and social enterprises setting up to retrain, re-engage and support the local communities. These organisations are investing in training and working to rebuild the damage inflicted from the Khmer Rouge. While most of these social enterprises are funded or established by Westerners, we’re seeing an increasing number of local Cambodians establish such organisations in a bid to reclaim their lives, families and communities.
On day two, we cycle around the temples of Angkor Wat - the pride of the nation and the most sacred of all temples. It was once known as the Pearl of the East. This temple took 10,000 people and 37 years to build.
For dinner we are invited to join the celebrations for the graduation of three survivors. Each of these women are incredibly proud of their achievements and reflective of the support they have received in order to actually create meaningful change in their lives. This comes in the form of the funds from PROJECT FUTURES and the direct support and training of the AFESIP team and program.
Some of these women have children that are also supported by the safe house; they are victims of sex trafficking and horrific sexual abuses. The issue of trafficking is an intergenerational issue, and as a result abuse in the home and/or the sale of children becomes normalised in order to support the survival of other family members.
But the opportunity for an education and/or financial independence leads to choices, greater awareness and the resources to create change for the life path of future generations. To repair families and communities.
The night is joyous. We are privileged to share in the celebration and focus on the positive achievements, and hopefully futures, of these survivors, rather than the devastation of their history. Their history no longer defines them as new futures and greener pastures await.
For those interested in getting involved and organising their very own immersion cycle, please contact Clare@projectfutures.com or head to our website www.projectfutures.com.