When she was eighteen years old she began going to school.
Yes. You read that right.
Her first time setting foot in a class was not until she had already reached adulthood. After she told me this, I had a million questions. There we stood in the halls of a secondary school in Cambodia as she began to tell me her story....
Her name is Dara. Growing up, her adoptive parents did not want her to go to school. They wanted her to help around the house and provide for herself and her family. She secretly looked through the trash so that she could find old newspapers. This is how she tried to learn the Khmer alphabet.
When I asked her how she was able to finally go to school she said, "My mother."
At eighteen, Dara had a small business by the side of the railroad tracks to make some small cash. On one of those nights, Dara's birth mother woke up when she heard a voice speaking to her. You see, Dara and her real mother lost each other during the Khmer Rouge. After living in refugee camps, Dara was eventually adopted.
But now more than 10 years later in the night, a voice spoke to Dara's mother and said:
"My Daughter, it is time to go and find your daughter." Without a doubt, she knew it was the voice of Jesus.
He guided her to which bus station she should go and where she should get off. There she found the very spitting image of herself. As Dara told me this, my eyes began to fill with tears at the power and love of our God.
Her mother told her, you must go to school and you must believe in Jesus.
It was not an immediate connection for Dara, but over time she began to learn to trust her mother, love God and persevere through her studies. She defied all odds as she continuously excelled and caught up grade after grade in school.
She is now the co-founder with her husband of a phenomenal organisation called Konsoor Kampuchea: teaching people in Cambodia how to "unlock their fullest potential".
This courageous and confident woman stood before me in all her beauty and I could clearly see the love of God in her.
I asked if I could take her picture to capture her story and this moment as I would never forget it.
A few moments proceeding, she would be AusCam's guest speaker at our first SHE workshop this year, teaching over 60 girls how to build their confidence.
They heard this same story in Khmer that I just shared with you and she encouraged them to never give up, to be confident and unlock their full potential! She danced with them, did some fun exercises and games to loosen them up and show them how to be fearless.
This was just the first this year of many monumental life skills workshops that are taking place in our 4 partner schools in Cambodia. We are blessed to be God's hands and feet.
By Jenna Comontofski
AusCam Communications/Marketing Coordinator
PROTECTION & EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION, MENTORING & LIFE SKILLS
AusCam Freedom Project believes girls should be 'taught not trafficked'.
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