23 November 2011

From Small Beginnings

Richard Branson said that it is amazing how long it takes to become an overnight success..

I was stood in the Chab Dai member meeting two weeks ago, looking out at more than 160 participants from more than 50 member organizations, remembering our small beginnings.

I am always inspired and encouraged by our member meetings but at this one, our fourteenth, I found myself reflecting on the past and how we got here.

The very first 'official' Chab Dai member meeting was held less than a week after we began in June 2005.

In many ways that was the most daunting meeting of all.. Not only was I organizing everything from logistics to food, chairing and note taking but this was the real test to see how much commitment and support there would be from these first twelve member organizations to the vision and goal of working together to end sexual abuse and trafficking.

We have experienced many successes and failures in the time between that first meeting and this month's fourteenth meeting. We have embarked on many ambitious projects - the most recent one being the Chab Dai Charter which in many ways epitomizes everything we have been working towards during these years - committing ourselves to excellence in all we do.

I am not only encouraged by the increase in participant and member numbers but more in hearing them share their commitment to excellence within their projects and organizations makes the vision more of a reality to those who we are committed to.. The care and long term healing for survivors and beyond that to inspiring new advocates among these survivors and their communities.

..the path to success is often marked by many failures and numerous lessons learned but as long as we keep the goal in sight, and are able to see how far we have come, it helps us keep going on this journey.

Still working - still hopeful


Follow Helen on Twitter @helen_chabdai

21 November 2011

My Morning Read: 'They Deceived Us at Every Step' by Human Rights Watch (2011)

Good Morning Fellow End-Trafficking Advocates!
Well, I don’t know if I could classify the totality of today's morning as 'good', perhaps 'solemn' or 'overwhelmed' would be more appropriate terms to use. I spent the last hour flicking through the new report by Human Rights Watch (October 2011): 'The Deceived Us at Every Step: Abuse of Cambodian Domestic Workers Migrating to Malaysia' Inside the report it documents interviews with domestic workers, government officials, non-government agencies about the abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of Cambodian women & girls who work abroad in Malaysia.
The report confirms, with lots of well-researched documentation, the stories and rumors that have been floating through my ears over the last year plus. What I loved most about reading the report today was how beautifully it highlights the voices of 28 female domestic workers. While tediously reading (okay, skimming) through the facts, recommendations, and definitions of trafficking, debt bondage, and forces labour, it was their voices that caught my attention. I wanted to hear how they felt, what they needed, and where I could fit into their stories. Each word they said spoke more passion & frustration & angst into my body.
This report is not the beginning of this issue, nor is it a report of how the issue has been successfully-forever-resolved (oh how I wish!). It falls somewhere gracefully in the middle -between the general Cambodian public becoming aware of the issue, the government stating a ban on domestic workers to Malaysia, as well as a larger call to action for the wider globe to join in this awareness & advocacy.
I strongly urge each person reading our blog to 1) download the report (here, in English & Khmer) and 2) pray about how you can add your voice to the increasing volume of collective voices shouting for PROTECTION, for DIGNITY, and for HOPE!
Interested to read more?
Follow #Camlabor on Twitter