Posted by Jess on the Jericho FPF yesterday…
Dear fellow FPFers,
I grew up in Underhill and then lived in Jericho for more than 20 years. My children and I all went through the Chittenden East School District. I worked as a nurse at the VNA in Colchester for 23 years. My Underhill/Jericho/Chittenden County roots are deep.
In 2010 I moved to Cambodia to experience another part of the world and see if I could take the skills I had and find a way to make them useful elsewhere. I have continued to read Front Porch Forum daily since that move, which leaves me feeling connected to my roots. I read about your lost pets, your handyman recommendations, your new businesses, your concerns about development, whats available at the farmers market, and all the events at the Deborah Rawson library. I love that connection. I am so thankful for Front Porch Forum for that opportunity.
I didn’t expect to still be in Cambodia all these years later, but here I am. And what I do here in this place which has become my new and very different community is manage a small charitable organization that works with children with disabilities. I cant begin to tell you about the challenges faced by families in a country where the average income is still only about a dollar a day, where many people have no access to clean water, where almost 50% of the children are growth-stunted because of malnutrition, where there is no functional healthcare system and certainly no social welfare system for its vulnerable citizens. But I truly believe with all of my heart that our small project makes a difference in the lives of 60 families who have children with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and developmental delays and a variety of other disabilities.
Part of my job involves increasing awareness and finding financial support for what we do though there is nothing I dislike more than asking for money. But the children and families we serve have no voice in the world, so I feel a responsibility to speak for them.
If you have any interest in knowing more about what a fellow Vermonter is doing in this strange land with some of the worlds most vulnerable children, I am happy to tell you. If your community group or family or church or school or any other group is interested in learning more about how to make a huge difference in the lives of people far away but in dire need, I am happy to tell you. If you are looking for a project to support or a chance to become global citizens in the way you allocate your charity dollars, I am happy to talk to you about how to do that.
I will be home in Vermont between Nov. 16 and Dec. 9. I look forward to spending time with my family and friends, and seeing my 2-year-old granddaughter in person (instead of only via FaceTime and Skype but thank goodness for technology!) If you would like to hear more about how you can be involved in the lives of people far away but in great need, I would be happy to talk to you in person.
I know we often say, Think globally, act locally and I agree with the importance of contributing to ones own community, as so many of you do. I also believe that as people born into great privilege by virtue of being lucky enough to be born in a place where (imperfect) safety nets exist, we have the opportunity to share our good fortune with those who happened to be born into other circumstances, if we choose to do so.
If you’ve read this far, I thank you for your interest. If youd like to know more about our work, please take a look at http://safehavenkhmer.org/. If youd like to talk to me, please let me know.
And whether I know you or not, whether I hear from you or not, I hope you all bask in the joy of eating vast amounts of turkey with your family and friends (and reunited pets) and I wish you great happiness and health in the year ahead!