Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Asian Hope

Two of my friends from college got married and moved to Cambodia to teach (like you do).  They've had to move back to the States, but their love for Cambodia hasn't changed.  Recently, I was able to get to know more about the organization they taught with in Cambodia, Asian Hope.  I was impressed with Asian Hope's practical and comprehensive approach to the problem of education in Cambodia.  Teachers were among those targeted by the Khmer Rouge regime, so most either died or escaped.  While things have been improving (they would pretty much have to), there is still a 5,000 teacher shortage in Cambodia.  The teachers they have are often...well...abusive extortionists, as you may have gathered from the video above.  Poverty is also rampant, often forcing children to work instead of attend school.  Cambodia is also extremely vulnerable to human trafficking, specifically and especially the sexual exploitation of children.  As with education, the situation is improving, but the situation is still very bad.  Asian Hope has established a number of schools, including "catch-up" schools for those in the most impoverished communities.  They also partner with various non-profits and a local church to help address the variety of needs and problems they encounter (including "My parents are planning to sell my virginity.").  They work with local Cambodians and understand that their role is temporary.  Eventually, Cambodia will educate Cambodia.  The country has suffered, but it is healing.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Travel Blog Find: Hippie in Heels

I remember stumbling across Hippie in Heels and dismissing it out of hand as a fashion blog.  Mea culpa.  I learned the error of my ways when I stumbled across an interview with her on Travel Fashion Girl.  We are 2 very different people: she parties hard, she has a different style, etc.  However, there is a lot of useful info on her blog.  What really caught my attention is all the info on India, particularly Goa.  I have never been to India, but I have to go someday since I have loved every Indian person I have met and totally dig Bollywood (start with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and go from there). Its history and current events are also fascinating.  Goa is hardly typical India, but I am fascinated all the same.  Also, while she does like style and comfort, she does keep an eye on the bottom line, so it's not going to be all first-class and champagne.  You can also navigate the site by destination, so it's easy to see if there is something relevant to your trip.  Check it out.