This was the theme for our Asia Pacific Regional CHE Conference held his past week in Cambodia. Around fifty of us gathered from Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Canada and Australia for our annual working group meetings.
Poster presentations, because we have all had enough of powerpoints, from each country and some individual organizations gave us an overview of the CHE projects underway and created opportunities for great discussions and strategizing. The guest speaker was a psychologist from Canada who lead us through six sessions on “Healing Life’s Hurts-Dealing with Anger and Forgiveness”. Others spoke on human trafficking and the problem of “orphanages” which are a very common way of dealing with poverty and lack of access to healthcare and education, even in situations where there are parents in the picture.
On Wednesday afternoon, we drove about two hours out to visit in a number of villages which have used CHE for the past few years. It was good to hear villagers tell us of the improvements in their family lives, health, income, water and sanitation, vegetable gardens and crops since CHE was introduced to them. The last two days there were simultaneous workshops on Women’s and Children’s CHE.
What I appreciated most was the opportunity to exchange ideas with others who share my passion for community development and fully understand the challenges involved. The structure of my work and home life means that I rarely get time to sit down and talk with my co-workers. This week allowed me to meet with many key people from various countries and do some very specific planning for future projects and I needed it very badly.
The banner that graced the front of the conference room included this picture of the “Cambodia dream” that the head of Public Health for the organization we have trained in Moral Values had painted on his wall. The before issues are pictured on the left and after are on the right. Please pray for us as we continue to build relationships with our Cambodian colleagues, for this doctor who is carefully considering the lessons he has heard, and for the reality of this vision for Cambodia.