Well, it is that time of year when seasons change once again and the prospect of gloomier weather and snow are on the horizon. Today I was thinking about this inner sensation I get each fall as the door is closed on summer and the thought of people spending more time indoors and away from get-togethers with friends and family.
Then I began to think of all of those around the world who have much dimmer prospects than the things that typically invade my mind. What about those who cannot pick up the phone and locate a loved one because that loved one “deposited” them at a special needs home or orphanage because they could not or would not care for them? How about the young children barely old enough to play outside on their own who are now sexually experienced due to recurrent victimization and exploitation, or those who live right on top of a garbage dump in Cambodia and whose total existence depends on what the trucks dump there daily? I guess the onset of winter isn’t so bad after all.
This is a large chunk of what I ponder now. My eye-opening and mind-jolting journey began as a responder to the Southeast Asian tsunami in 2005 but continues to be fed through the revelation of so many additional areas of neglect, exploitation and suffering that I have witnessed throughout this region. Although I would never have predicted it; through the grace of God, these tragic situations now strike me as areas of opportunity. There exists a craving within Hope For the Silent Voices (HFSV) to seek out those people who have been forgotten or discarded.
This foundation was created to bring attention and resources to the severely neglected, disadvantaged, and abused; those “tossed away” by their family, culture or society. This includes mentally & physically handicapped children in Sri Lanka deemed unworthy or untouchable; women and children trafficked for sexual purposes throughout SE Asia, Latin America and even the United States. It includes so many others who crave the opportunity to dream just a fraction of how you and I dream. Part of the heartbeat for HFSV is the rescue of so many thousands of children in bondage through sexual exploitation. You may have noticed more coverage on this side of the globe but I can assure you this is an issue long in history and crowded with victims. We are active in this fight and hope you will consider supporting us as we continue to walk into this dark pit.
I feel quite privileged for many reasons having seen what I have been fortunate to see and mentally wrestle with all that my mind cannot process as I see more and more disturbing sights. Brooke Fraser says it perfectly in her song, “Albertine” when she sings “Now that I have seen, I am responsible.” This meshes with the burden that HFSV feels as we strive to give a “voice” to these who have no voice – let alone the resources or the means for doing anything themselves. We endeavor to do this by seeking out difficult situations in strange places across the globe, and facilitating trips to these areas to help people expand the lenses through which they glimpse the world. It is our hope that through these “Impact Trips” the eyes of those who might contribute to a lasting difference will be opened – and a great number of lives enriched.
Our winter 2011 Asia Impact Trip departs December 30th as another group has decided to “roll up their sleeves” and step out to assess significant ways to assist in the aforementioned areas. We are launching the Hope Pal program during this trip to connect children globally. We hope to foster meaningful, personal relationships between underprivileged children there and families here; between children who have no hope and families who will be their voices. We envision children and families taking an interest in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of their young Hope Pal. With the world so internet-friendly email and instant messaging amongst kids is such an easy process. Time commitment is minimal yet quality with impact potential substantial. The desire for love and companionship is innate in all of us – particularly in children.
HFSV continues to play a major support role in the Sambodhi Home for the Disabled in Galle, Sri Lanka. We also have developing partnerships with other organizations aiming to disrupt the trafficking of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
As you can see we have much on our radar. We do really need substantial financial support to expand our capabilities; make a difference in others’ lives and expose many who are uninformed to the opportunities to make an impact. We would be most grateful if you would give this letter some thought and even forward it to anyone who may be in a position to aid this cause.
Thank you kindly and enjoy your Fall season!
Check out the following video to get a glimpse into the last team’s courage to step out.