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'Aroha Project' - A Leadership Home


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Given by 77 generous donors in 3 years
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Rescue - not a moment or event but a process. Can you help me stay here to continue building a brighter future for the youth I care for?

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Eight years ago I was left floundering, after my husband Craig passed away. The week before he died Craig wrote me a letter. The closing line said “Life is short, love what you do.” This encouragement has stayed with me and I have chosen to live out his words by moving from the comforts of New Zealand to volunteer here in Cambodia … inspired to live generously, with joy and purpose.

It’s real life. Every day is valuable. I originally intended to volunteer for six months but have now been here 5 years - I just can't bring myself to leave - there's so much need and so much I can contribute but I can't be here without your help.

My eyes have been opened to one of the poorest countries of the world. It’s overwhelming ... no one is unaffected here. The country is still recovering from its tragic past of genocide during Pol Pot’s regime in the 1970’s. Countless numbers of children were left orphaned by the Khmer Rouge and the subsequent HIV epidemic. Many of these children were rescued and now have opportunities they would never have had otherwise. Most significantly, they are no longer at risk of exploitation in a country where many are homeless and vulnerable.

I'm witnessing the cycles of poverty, abuse, illiteracy and neglect be broken every day. With your help we will provide young adults an opportunity to move to a home in Phnom Penh where they can live independently within a good support structure whilst they attend University. This in turn will help them grow into the future leaders and professionals that Cambodia so desperately needs to transform as a nation.

Over the last 5 years I've had the privilege to mentor, guide, encourage and walk alongside many underprivileged and orphaned youth. There have been so many highlights. Moments I know have changed them little by little. These all make for an exciting life as 'mum' in Cambodia.

It’s a big responsibility but it has big rewards. Every day is valuable. I have opened a Leadership Home that houses up to 8 students that need assistance with living costs and education support whilst studying at a tertiary level. I can't take students without your help. Would you help me to fund this home and help me keep working with the orphaned and underprivileged youth of Cambodia to help build their future?

The money raised here will allow me to directly assist the youth to live and study in this home also assist our surrounding community. We can't all be here 'physically' but you can be here through me.

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Latest update

Back in New Zealand (in lockdown!)  8 April 2020

Posted by: Annie Wilson

Just a quick update…

...to let you know I made it home to New Zealand with 7 hours to spare till they locked down the country. I’ve had my two weeks isolation and now in my “bubble” with my daughter and son in law.

I want to sincerely thank every one of you for all your support and encouragement during this stressful time. I found it so difficult to leave Cambodia and my heart is heavy because of it. I want to reassure you all the boys are doing well and they too are in the adjustment stage during this crisis. we are in regular contact and I am resourcing them with all I can so they don’t have too many extra stresses at present. Cambodia is already such a difficult country and this pandemic could be devastating for the people I care for there so I’m asking for you all to please stay on board with me in any way you can…

We have had to close the shoe shop for now as its unsafe for the boys to work there and sourcing the shoes from suppliers is just too hard. So sadly, three of them have lost their income and I’m committed to paying rent on the shop at least for another 6 months. We didn’t see this coming!

I’m grateful for your continued commitment to the project and the lives of these Cambodians that I have the privilege to lead and help because of your giving.

A few friends are saving their coffee money for me since we are all stuck at home so if that’s something you would like to be a part of, please flick over to the fundraiser page on here! There you'll find the virtual money box for your daily coins! Every coffee is a meal in Cambodia so that’ll help me feed a few over the next few months while we ride this pandemic out…

A message from 3 of the boys…

"We are sad mom is not here with us but we want her safe so she can come back and stay a long time. Mom works very hard here and we are missing her so much. Please take care of yourselves" (Hong)

"We miss working in the shop now because that was fun for us to meet people but now nobody comes in our shop because they are scared of the sickness. We hope you are happy and stay safe with your families" (Zun)

"I want to say thanks for helping my mom get back to her homeland safely. It’s better that she is there and safe even though we know it’s hard when she has gone. Also want to say a happy Easter to everyone and God bless you and thankyou for look after my mother" (Manday)

My thoughts and prayers are with you all in these difficult days. we are all in this together and I hope over Easter you can find some peace and some joy around this precious time.

I'll leave you with the words of a note I left on the wall for the boy’s…

“We do not grow or become strong during life’s good times: we grow when we press through the difficulties without giving up” (from my friend Joyce).

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This page was created on 7 Oct 2016 and closes on 31 Aug 2020.
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