In June I walked across the stage at TRU to accept my Master’s degree. As we stood together for a photo, Chancellor Wally Oppal asked me, “What are you going to do now that you are finished?”
He completely caught me off guard, but I replied,
I already have a job, so I guess I will try to do some good in the world.
It seemed simple enough. The one thing I had not fit into my chaotic world was volunteering to causes that mattered to me. But as I contemplated how I might do this, none of my initial ideas seemed like enough. Like many people, I felt that whatever I was going to give my time and money to had to make a huge difference to many people or I needed to be the source of solving a huge problem.
That was my ego talking. And she was wrong.
One of the horrors of the world that has always tugged at me is child sex slavery. On a purely human level, this bothers me in a way that simply thinking about writing this post made me cry. As a mother, the thought of having my children taken from me to be at the mercy of people who would exploit them for their innocence generates feelings of rage, anger and fear. When I do think about it (and I try not to) I send grateful thoughts to The Universe that I live where I live and that some day these acts of inhumanity will cease.
We are nothing without hope.
Then one day shortly after my graduation my cousin shared a link on Facebook for an organization called Connecting Hands. Their tag line is “Lend Yours Free Theirs”. It seemed perfect.
Connecting Hands is a not for profit charity reaching out to young victims of Human Trafficking & Slavery in Cambodia.
We work to eradicate enslavement in the sex industry by offering young women who have escaped lives of enslavement and abuse with the opportunity to start a new life free from such vulnerabilities.
Our goal is to empower young women to change their own lives with traineeships and on the job training within our Connecting Hands training Cafe in Cambodia.
Our training model assists young women by empowering them with training opportunities with great working conditions, higher salaries than average, English classes, medical treatment, accommodation & ongoing practical support to equip them to change their lives.
So in the name of my own two beautiful, loving, and free children I purchased two stools to help them set up their cafe. A cafe that will be run by girls who have been freed from a life of imprisonment and unimaginable conditions. I really did not expect much to come of this small donation, but it felt right.
Then a few weeks later I received these photos and photos of the girls learning to cook and serve patrons. Seeing their happy faces and this lovely cafe built piece by piece through many small gestures of kindness, love and generosity brought it all in to perspective.
It cost me less than $100 to buy two stools and they made a difference.
These stools will serve as seats for patrons who will be served a meal by a girl who at one time felt there was no hope and no future for herself.
Someday I will show my children the photos of their table in the cafe and the stools that hold their names and some day I will take them to Cambodia to see what a small gesture of sharing, giving and humility will do.
For now, I will let them remain safe and innocent.
What small gesture can you make today?
With love and gratitude,