Our aim is to show respect to the local projects and humble ourselves enough to ask them how we can effectively contribute. More and more of our volunteer Corps, be it HOPE Youth Corps, HWW Singles Corps, and any other Corps, aim at having a long term impact.
One such example is the HOPE Youth Corps that spent Christmas 2015 in the Philippines. The group of 80 that served there for almost two weeks was comprised of volunteers of all ages (it was a HYC open to all, so we had some singles and a few families too), from all over the world. Our plan was to help with rehabilitation work in the community of Daanbantayan, a town ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.
We repaired fishing boats, we helped build a Center of HOPE (community center / preschool), and we spent time with members of the community. We also split into five teams and built five homes; and the homes were built with the help of the families that would benefit. We ate meals with them and played with their children. We worked hard and it was the most rewarding feeling at the end of the trip to be able to hand over a brand new, clean, and safe house to a family in need.
The impact on the volunteers was keenly felt. Of course, the families benefited, but the main goal of our volunteer trips is to transform the hearts of the participants so that they can become servant leaders who walk in the footsteps of Jesus for the rest of their lives. The last devotional on all of our trips is entitled, “What next? A sustainable impact”, in which we talk about the lasting effect of the trip. As one of our interns said, “Have the HYC mindset every day, everywhere, in everything that you do!”
We challenged the participants to stay connected with the local HWW program; and after we all went home, we did stay connected! In the last 11 months since the trip, we have collectively raised funds for an additional 9 homes! Moreover, the volunteers’ contributions have enabled the Center of HOPE to have a kitchen, a toilet, a floor etc. We believe in intelligent service that strengthens the local projects. Our volunteers are smart. They want to know that they have truly made a difference!
The team at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital recently celebrated its 5 year anniversary. SKMH opened in April 2012 with the mission to meet the needs of poor children and women of Southern Cambodia. It is managed by HOPE worldwide . Since its opening, nearly 50,000 patients have been touched by the team. On May 26, the hospital honored 31 employees who have served since the hospital’s opening day. Through the dedication of its staff and supporters, SKMH has seen tremendous growth. Since its opening, the hospital has accomplished the following:
· More than 140,000 patient consultations with nearly 50,000 new patients
· 71% of visits have been for women and children
· Nearly 800 children have been born at the hospital since the opening of the Maternity building in November 2014
· 7 Cambodian doctors have graduated from three year hospital training program.
· Currently employs over 180 people
· The Neo Natal Intensive care unit opened November 2015. To date the NICU has served 49 children
· Centralized Medical Gas System for NICU and campus opened in November 2016.
· Surgical department opened in 2015
· Surgical team has performed over 360 surgeries in 2016, not including C-Sections. 86 surgeries have been for children
· Blood bank opened in August 2016
· A Learning Center for children of hospital staff opened on June 12
Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital has been blessed with international support from medical and administrative partners as well as volunteers from around the world to serve and teach. The local Cambodian staff continues to grow and serves as the primary patient care providers.
The team is grateful for all the support that has been given this past five years; however, there remains more to do. Future development includes the addition of a CT scan, upgraded X-ray diagnostic equipment, continued development of staff training programming and pursuit of international accreditations. Please consider how you can make a difference at the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital. Go to https://www.hopeww.org/donate . Use the drop down box and select Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital. If you wish to learn more about the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital, please visit www.skmh.org .
Dr. Rin Receiving the Empathy Amplified AwardClick here to watch .
Jenny Harkabus spent Christmas serving in the Philippines. She wrote this, and also made a short video:
I did not imagine that I would be spending Christmas in the Philippines for my first HOPE Youth Corps experience. This opportunity has deeply changed my perspective on the importance of service in my daily walk.
We are created in God's image, therefore we are meant to help and serve others. I know this to be true because I have never felt so used by God and fulfilled, than the times spent serving and pouring out my love in the Philippines.
James 1:27 says, " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Some translations refer to this as true religion. The bible also stresses the importance of giving to the poor (1 John 3:17, Matt 9:21, Proverbs 14:31). God considers caring for the poor and orphans as true religion, yet this can be an area of faith that is overlooked.
I was privileged to spend time with girls who have experienced trauma and abuse at the HOPE worldwide center in Laguna. Many of these girls have been separated from their families, becoming orphans, as a result of the abuse they have experienced. I also received the opportunity to play with children within the community as we rebuilt their homes and provided them with medical care. I witnessed the children’s precious value for human relationships, as they clung to me emotionally and physically. They showed me instant love and respect, which I find to be rare in today’s society. Our focus should be about investing in others just as the children in the Philippines invested in me.