24 February 2011

A Day in the Life of 3 Abolitionists: It All Starts with Coffee!

A day in the life of Chab Dai directors around the globe – with or without coffee? By Frida Westerling, Chab Dai Intern

Yeng (Cambodia Director) says his habit of drinking coffee started at Chab Dai.

When I ask Yeng about his workday and say, “It all starts with a coffee, right?” he smiles and begins telling me about his day not mentioning coffee even once.

Yeng wakes up at 4.30 a.m., goes for a run (!), helps his kids get ready for school and goes off to work. Being the Country Director, Yeng has a lot of work in his hands. He’s working with local donors, the government, Chab Dai members as well as helping with provincial prevention projects. After work he studies until 8 p.m. and in the evening he helps his wife with her business. When Yeng started working at Chab Dai he wasn’t a coffee drinker. According to his colleagues he now sometimes has two coffees in the mornings. I don’t blame him.

Working at Chab Dai further encouraged Julia (Canada Director) to continue her coffee habits.

Julia was already a coffee drinker when she started working at Chab Dai and she’s still going strong, imbibing this poisonous drink. Her naturopathe is telling her to quit but she always finds herself having coffee after struggling without it for a couple of days. When Julia and her husband started working with Chab Dai heconsequently became a coffee drinker.

After her morning cup of coffee, Julia keeps up-to-date with the human trafficking situation in Canada, networking and doing contractual work. Her work entails meeting a lot of people and introducing them to Chab Dai.

Helen (International Director & Founder) has always been a coffee lover herself, and is passing on her ‘coffee-loving-legacy’ at Chab Dai!

Waking up to 60+ e-mails a day and numerous meetings and visitors a week, Helen and coffee are practically one. As Founder of Chab Dai, Helen spends a lot of her time discussing, talking and brainstorming with people with oh so often a cup of coffee in her hands.

Relationships come first. It’s where we’re able to make a difference. It means, I guess, my days might look chaotic from the outside," Helen says. Her role is also to ensure the well-being of the expatriate staff in US, Canada & the UK, and supporting their direct projects.

Part of Helens daily framework is looking strategically on the impact our work is having in the future. “We need to have big dreams and big visions and if something seems impossible, we strive creatively to bring about change”, she adds.

About her staff’s relationship with coffee she says with a laugh: “It’s my legacy to the staff. I guess it’s one of the less positive aspects of my influence on them.”

18 February 2011

Our Video is Done

Watch it here and learn more about our ethos of collaboration around the globe.
Our global vision continues to be "Christians working TOGETHER to end sexual abuse & trafficking!"
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10 February 2011

Why do I do what I do?

Why DO they do what they do? Chab Dai Directors around the globe answer why they have become passionate about ending modern day slavery, and where it all started…

It started with a vision in 2005. Meet Helen Sworn, International Director:
“There were rumors that children were being sold through the Thai boarder in Poipet. At the time, in 1999, I was working for an NGO and was sent to the boarder to find the truth. I spent some time in the border area seeing clothes, food etc. being traded. But the rumors were true: children were also being exchanged for money while the boarder guards turned a blind eye to them.

I was introduced to human trafficking for the first time with my own eyes and I was determined to dedicate my years to find more about it & how to be a part of addressing it.
At that time the world was very much focused on HIV/Aids and I realized that besides one researcher and a few organizations addressing human trafficking in Cambodia, no one was doing anything regarding this issue.

Few of the organizations were working together and the staff didn’t have training about the issue or how to address it. They had a huge heart but a lack of knowledge.
And the donors were asking: Why address slavery when it was abolished hundreds of years ago?
The vision expanded. Meet Ros Yeng, Cambodia Country Director:
“When I became a Christian I wanted to be a church leader. I went to the city to study in Bible school so I could get a job as a pastor. As a church leader I then saw that many Cambodians went to church because they were in need of material help, such as food and clothes.

The issue with the churches was that they only focused on evangelizing. I changed my goal and started working in a local NGO.
For eight years I worked with street children. I met boys that had been sexually abused and once a boy asked me for help. I did counseling with some of the boys but furthermore I didn’t know how to help them. So I changed my goal again. This is my 6th year working at Chab Dai.”

The vision of collaboration & coalition-building was transplanted in 2008 to the USA and Canada. Meet Julia Smith-Brake, Canada Director.

“My husband and I studied international development and we really thought we were supposed to go to West Africa, since we had specialized in that and both of us knew French. I met Helen in a child protection conference and had a good talk with her.

It was all very providential.
The doors to West Africa were closed and we started e-mailing with Helen. Within a week practically everything was fixed: the internships, flights and housing. So it really was a clear message from above that we’re meant to go to Cambodia.

By learning more about human trafficking we got so passionate about it that it has become our life calling.

So the issue found us and now I’ve been working at Chab Dai for two and a half years.”