Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Economic hardships in Baray - a cry for help

Many of the villages in Baray have been existing very much below the poverty line. As Cambodia begins to pick itself up, the situation in the urban centres have improved considerably. But the villages still remain pretty destitute.

It seems this year has been particularly bad for the villages in Baray. Part of it is related to the global economic meltdown. Jobs are hard to come by. Many of these villagers are not landowners and cannot grow their own subsistence crops. So no job means no food. And the damage in the trail of recent typhoon Ketsana sure didn't help. The recent rains and floods have added to the misery. The rising inflation has seen the price of rice go up from 1000 riels (US$0.25) per kilo to 2000 riels

Esther and Ps Samreth have reported that there have been increasing visits at their centre from villagers desperately asking for food. Mothers with babies in arm who just have no milk to breast feed, and no way to feed their families. Mothers who offer to trade their babies for food so that their other children can have something to eat.

It is heartbreaking to say the least. I can't say I know what to do, other than to put out an open call for help.

I have pledged a meagre sum of US$3000. This is from some donations I have received plus some of my own. $2400 will be used to support the families whose homes have been destroyed by Ketsana. At the moment these families are living under tarpaulins and plastic sheets. Not particularly effective given the rains but better than nothing. We have targeted our efforts in just one village Phum Ley, where there are about 30+ families affected.

The remaining $600 will fund some rice distribution to about 50 of the poorest families from Phum Leav and another 50 families from Phum Ley. It's a small start but better than nothing.

If you feel you can help, please let me know.

I lead a small team to Baray on 28/10, to commission the schools and to distribute supplies for Phum Ley and Phum Leav. Please pray for journey safety, and for wisdom to know what to do.

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