(ABC 6 News) – Saturday morning, Creating Hope 4 Cambodia held its 13th annual art market, with proceeds going to provide a better life for children in Cambodia.
Public education is not free in Cambodia like it is here in the United States. According to the members of Creating Hope 4 Cambodia, children from the 5th grade do not go to school and do not work to support their families. As a result, they become victims of sex trafficking.
“I found out that there were children as young as six years old who were at risk of being sold to a brothel and I had never heard of anything so horrible,” said organization founder Marti Ogren.
On a mission trip to Cambodia 15 years ago, Ogren came to this devastating realization about what life was like for children living in Cambodia and knew her new purpose.
“To the missionaries, I told them I had to do something,” explained Ogren. “I couldn’t know that and not do something.”
That’s when she found Creating Hope 4 Cambodia.
For the past 13 years, Ogren has held art markets and used the proceeds to provide a better life for these children.
“An uneducated boy or girl is more susceptible to being drawn into sex trafficking,” explained Creating Hope 4 Cambodia board member Amy Majsterski. “So we’re coming alongside them and giving those boys and girls scholarships and giving them a much brighter future and saving their lives in a way.”
Every $300 earned at these markets pays for an entire year of school fees, uniforms and books for one child, says Majsterski.
The market is made possible by hundreds of supporters in Rochester, including organizations such as MN Adult and Teen Challenge.
“People [of MN Adult and Teen Challenge] he came to this gentleman’s garage and they made birdhouses and beautiful shelves. The women made packages with food for the children,” explained Majsterski.
This year is the biggest market so far.
“We are changing lives. We help children, now we support 150 children in school. Some of them have graduated from high school and are going to college, I mean, that’s a nice thing,” Ogren added.
Creating Hope 4 Cambodia hopes to raise $45,000 to send 150 children to school this year.
For more information on how you can help, click here.