A team of pre-med students, medical professionals and missionaries will travel to different regions of Cambodia, including the capital, Phnom Penh, Jan. 4-15, 2018. Goals and prayers of this trip are to improve the health and wellbeing of women and children – a demographic oftentimes overlooked and in critical need of care. The Engage team will share preventative health care information and resources, perform dental exams and overall health physicals, as well as share the love of Jesus with spiritual care.
Located in Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Cambodia has a population of more than 15 million people. The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is the ruling party for the country, and the dominate religion is Theravada Buddhism. The official language is Khmer, and this demographic makes up 90 percent of the populace, with low percentages of Vietnamese, Chinese and others.
One of the most pressing heartaches for Cambodia is modern-day slavery. Girls are bought and sold, and trafficked into the sex trade. Even though human trafficking is a crime in Cambodia, the location is considered a source, transit and destination for the illegality. Traffickers are reported to be organized crime syndicates, parents, relatives, friends and neighbors.
CIY partners with Rapha House and International Justice Mission to fight this injustice and care for victims. The Engage team will spend time at the Rapha House Kids Club in Phnom Penh, and work with Theara Sath, the director of the organization. The victims learn English, as well as how to be a child again through play and new friendships. Most importantly, missionaries share the hope of Jesus.
There are many other struggles the country faces both politically and environmentally; including widespread poverty and hunger, lack of political freedom and environmental destruction. There is a shortage of clean water, extreme flooding, mudslides and destructive storms. The rate of deforestation is one of the highest in the world even though agriculture plays a major role in the country’s economy. Tropical monsoons bring the heaviest rains from September to October, and the driest from January to February.
The largest industry for Cambodia is garment manufacturing, followed with rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, tourism, construction, rubber, cement, gem mining and textiles. The minimum legal working age is 15 years old, and for hazardous work the minimum age is 18 years old. Unfortunately, there is inconsistent enforcement of the work laws. The minimum wage in the garment industry is $45 a month.
Schooling is currently in a state of recovery. Under the Pol Pot regime, education was practically abolished as children were forced to work. There is public school for ages six-12 with an additional six years of secondary school (only three of those years are required). The primary language of instruction is Cambodian. Higher education is available in the capital, but many students obtain their degrees out-of-country.
To learn more about Cambodia, a source for this article was www.encyclopedia.com/places/asia/cambodian-political-geography/cambodia. To learn more about Engage, please visit Christ In Youth online at www.ciy.com.