During an academic field trip to Cambodia in 2006, I was deeply touched by the people I met. I saw the innocence on the faces of the children despite the harsh conditions that they were living in. I saw the immense potential in the women who were struggling to hold their families together. I knew there was more that could be done to improve their living conditions. After I came back to Singapore, I was caught up with the busyness of life and the memory of Cambodia slowly faded. Yet, the Cambodians never quite left my heart.
During a quiet moment that I had, I was brought to remembrance of the lovely Cambodians that I met. I looked around me at the prosperous society that we live in and knew that there must be something that I could offer to them. Yet I struggled within myself. I was not sure what I could do for I am but only one person. Then I came to realise that I am not alone.
After taking the leap of faith to start SiloamXperience in 2008, I have been organising humanitarian trips to Cambodia year after year. From a small team of volunteers comprising of family members and friends, we have grown to establish a strong network of local partners in Cambodia and dedicated volunteers from around the world, ranging from doctors, nurses, executives, business owners to teachers and students. I am grateful for every single person that has come alongside us to support our cause and share in the vision of empowering the underprivileged in Cambodia.
Cambodia is a crisis not known to many. In a country that has been ravaged by civil wars, genocide, corruption and poverty, children as young as seven years old live on the streets and are often at the mercy of child traffickers and paedophiles. In desperation to survive, many children become beggars, scavengers and some, even child prostitutes.
Our goal is to equip and educate the Cambodian youths and women so that they can find proper jobs with stable incomes. And as they break free from the vicious poverty cycle, they will be able to contribute back to their community. To achieve this in a sustainable manner, we are building The Learners’ Village, a vocational and life skills training institute in Cambodia.
Thank you for joining us in this awesome mission to EMPOWER – giving people the power to help themselves!
Janette Goh-Tan, Founder