Global Seva Challenge 2008: Cambodia
The Seva Challenge 2008 engaged and connected communities throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond. The 113 men and women that participated raised $516,612 in donations for the Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF) and generated awareness on a local, national and global level.
In addition to the tremendous financial resources that were cultivated through last year’s Seva Challenge and Bare Witness Humanitarian Tour, the Seva experience inspired participants to take action in their own communities. One group fundraising effort and three individual projects were put into place. In addition, many participants and their families chose to sponsor children in Cambodia, furthering the mission and work of the Cambodian Children's Fund. Empowered by the impact of this transformational journey, the team left a lasting legacy in Cambodia – life changing for most, if not for all.
Abby Weis, Adi Carter, Andrea Curry, Angela Herlofsky, Angelika Holtzbrinck, Annalise Oberts, Blair Vaughn, Bobbie Sterbins, Brittany Policastro, Jennifer Wagner, Jennifer Steinwurtzel, Jude Monteserrato, Karen Johnston, Laurel Hicks, Lea-Rae Belcourt, Linda Kraulis, Lisa Palumbo, Nancy Spooner, Shiya Mangel, Suzanne Cary
The Seva Challenge 2008 benefited just one organization, The Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF). CCF provides education, shelter, food and services to over 450 children who live and work in the Steung Meanchey garbage dump. These children are horribly abused and exploited, often dying of disease, malnutrition and neglect. Cambodia has some of the highest rates of child prostitution and domestic violence and these vulnerable children often fall victim to these incomprehensible acts.
Bare Witness Humanitarian Tour
The Seva Challenge 2008 was an incredible success! It was a life-changing journey for all who participated and truly left a legacy of support for Scott Neeson and the Cambodian Children’s Fund. The twenty participants heard stories from survivors of the Khmer Rouge Genocide, went on educational trips to the Killing Fields and S-21 torture chambers and visited the Steung Meanchey garbage dump and surrounding villages. In addition, they took part in experiential work at each of the four CCF facilities, which included teaching skills such as yoga, arts and crafts, dance and drama. The fieldwork experience also encompassed hands-on work at the CCF vocational center, building a vegetable garden and working in the rice paddies. Participants also practiced daily yoga and engaged in leadership training.
“What a wonderful amazing experience. We worked and visited places that really awakened my eyes, my spirit and my soul. I learned more about myself than I had imagined possible. Every moment was priceless. The smiles and generosity from the CCF children will forever remain in my heart.”
“By far the most profound year of my life, taking on the Seva Challenge for 2008 helped me to develop a strong voice for my passions towards the environment and sustainability. Raising the $20,000 was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I realized how much support and respect I have from my friends, family, students and sponsors. Throughout this fundraising adventure I learned how powerful my voice is to speak out and be heard on behalf of people and a planet so desperately in need. I encourage everyone to embark on some sort of Seva pledge knowing that you can not fail and you will be repaid in ways beyond your wildest dreams. This pledge brought me to the conclusion that Giving is the new Getting and there is no time like the present to stand up for what you believe in and dare to be bold.”
“I've been trying to put my finger on exactly what is different about me since I returned from Cambodia. There are all the obvious things...I've seen the world in a different way, I've experienced another culture and an amazing example of love in its purist form in the eyes of the children at CCF, but there is more. It took along time for me to be able to figure it out but finally, during a discussion with my yoga practicing dad, it came to me. I am so much more present. During the two weeks in Cambodia I was living more in present time than I ever have in my life, it was a necessity. I had to stay present to be able to really, truly, authentically, without judgment, take in the experience. When I first came home I was so overwhelmed by the processing I needed to do that it was impossible to feel that present state. But now, day-by-day, it's getting easier and easier to drop back into that mindset. It is like meditation, people say that the longer you've been meditating the easier it is to drop into your meditation... well I guess when you work hard to stay present as much as possible over two weeks it has the same effect.”
- Shiya Mangel, Philadelphia, PA