(ABC 6 News) – Saturday morning, Creating Hope 4 Cambodia held their 13th annual art market, with the proceeds going towards giving kids in Cambodia a better life.
Public education is not free in Cambodia like it is here in the United States. According to Creating Hope 4 Cambodia members, kids as young as 5th grade are not in school and working to support their families. As a result, they become victims to the sex trade.
“I found out that there were children as young as six years old who were at risk of being sold into a brothel and I had never heard of anything so horrible,” said the organization’s founder, Marti Ogren.
On a mission trip to Cambodia 15 years ago, Ogren came to this devastating realization of what life was like for children living in Cambodia and knew what her new purpose was.
“The missionaries, I told them I had to do something,” explained Ogren. “I couldn’t know this and not do something.”
That is when she found Creating Hope 4 Cambodia.
For the last 13 years, Ogren held art markets and used the proceeds to give these children a better life.
“An uneducated boy or girl is more susceptible to getting gobbled up into sex trafficking,” explained Creating Hope 4 Cambodia’s committee member Amy Majsterski. “So we come alongside and we scholarship these boys and girls and give them a much brighter future and save their lives in a sense.”
Every $300 made at these markets pays for an entire year of tuition, uniforms and books for one child, according to Majsterski.
The market is made possible by hundreds of helping hands in Rochester, including organizations like MN Adult and Teen Challenge.
“The men [of MN Adult and Teen Challenge] came to this gentlemen’s house in his garage and they made some bird houses and some beautiful shelves. The women made food packets for the children,” explained Majsterski.
This year is the biggest market yet.
“We’re changing lives. We’re helping kids, we now support 150 kids in school. Some of them graduated high school and are going onto college, that’s I mean, it’s a beautiful thing,” Ogren added.
Creating Hope 4 Cambodia hopes to raise $45,000 to send 150 kids to school this year.
For more information on how you can help, click here.