Charity Committee 2014

Brampton has a very successful student run Charity Committee. Each year the students choose which charities to support. This year they have chosen Senhoa which was proposed by Rusna.

Here is the article Rusna wrote about her experiences with Senhoa and why she feels they are such a worthy cause.

Recently I travelled to Cambodia to do some charity work for an amazing organisation called Senhoa. It is a non-profitable organisation which helps children and girls rescued from human trafficking and exploitation.

The situation is very bad in Cambodia for girls, as children as young as 5 are sold into the sex industry due to extreme poverty and corruption. They help girls rescued from sex trafficking by teaching them skills and giving them opportunities so they can stand on their own feet. They specialise in designing, manufacturing and retailing a jewellery brand. The jewellery is individually handcrafted by the girls themselves. Senhoa partners with Swarovski so the girls can use the crystals to make stunning jewellery that they can be proud of and sell to make an income.
I got an amazing, life changing opportunity, to go out to Cambodia with the Senhoa foundation to teach 33 vulnerable girls in the art of threading and henna. I did not know what to expect at all but the seven days I spent in Cambodia changed me as a person. These girls were so grateful that they were given a chance in life to learn something useful. They have always been told that they are worthless, so they do not even get the chance of an education, as it’s just their culture. Most people think that girls who are trafficked have been abducted, but I was shocked to learn that in most cases their own families sell them for nothing more than 50 dollars, so they can feed themselves and the rest of the family for a few months. It is so important to teach them a skill which will generate income for their personal and financial independence. These girls were so hungry to learn a skill; it usually takes 3 weeks to teach these skills, however these girls learned it in 4 days. Whilst teaching I felt simply overwhelmed as I watched girls my age and younger who have not ever been to school learn so quickly. Knowing that I taught them a skill that will improve their quality of life gives me an unbelievable amount of contentment.
Not only do the Senhoa foundation help girls but they also have a Lotus Kids club. This is a grassroots project dedicated to supporting street working children, their families and the community in which they live through education, basic healthcare and community building initiatives. It is a preschool program to educate 3 to 5 year olds. In Cambodia, to send your child to school is considered a loss of income, instead they make their children as young as 3 collect rubbish on the dangerous streets or sell them. Lotus Kids Club gives the families of the children rice, medicine, bicycles and healthcare as an incentive for them to send their children to school. Whilst on my trip I had the opportunity to visit the Lotus Kids Club twice and interact with the children and their families. A lot of them did not have clothes or shoes, their teeth were rotting, it was extremely hot but they were still so happy. I also had the chance to not only visit the homes of the children but also of some of the girls I was helping to train. I’m sitting here trying to put into words the state of what they call home, but words cannot justify what I saw. I was struck by the poor quality of the primitive bamboo shacks surrounded by waste and extremely threatening debris. Im not usually an emotional person but watching these children and girls in their surroundings made me feel helpless.
I went to Cambodia to teach these girls but I ended up learning a lot from them. Things that we take for granted like food, education, hygiene, healthcare, safety, opportunities, happiness and a loving family are a dream for them. I got given the chance to make a difference in the lives of 33 girls. This was not just a one off trip for me. I will not stop helping the Senhoa foundation. You can visit the website Senhoa.org and if you think you can help in anyway please don’t hesitate. We are all lucky and blessed where we are in our life, and if we can make a tiny difference in someone else’s life why not.
Rusna Kohli