HYC Kathmandu: The Journey Onward

  • By Hope Worldwide
  • 10 Jan, 2017

HOPE "Youth" Corps is not just for the young in body, but also for the young at heart. Several of our trips are open to all ages, especially our more challenging international ones. Read Suzanne Uhl's account of her recent adventures on the Nepal HYC:

“I’m not dead yet.” As bizarre as that sounds, that sentence sums up my decision to sign up for a HYC trip. Not the most inspiring motivation, I know, but that’s where I was at. I’m a 53-year-old college professor, a married mom of two HYC veterans (Jud is 16 & Shane is 20). I don’t exactly fit the HYC mold, but I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal in December 2016 and that trip forever changed me.

Initially, the plan was to simply be the chaperone for my son during a summer international HYC. My job allows me the freedom of summers off so it seemed perfect. Long story made short, he was accepted in the Scotland HYC with another chaperone and I wasn’t technically needed. So, there I was: hopes up, hopes dashed. That’s when it occurred to me: “I’m not dead yet.” Being a chaperone wasn’t my only HYC option. So, I signed up for the December, Nepal trip. My boys were excited see mom go on an adventure and my husband was happy to let me chase a dream, even though it meant I’d be gone over Christmas.
Kathmandu is an amazing place of simplicity, profound poverty, enormous smiles, crazy drivers, unending kindness, lousy water, and staggering beauty. It is a paradox in so many ways and it just might be the most captivating place on the planet.

In the end, there were over 50 of us from all around the world. We served at the HOPE School in Kathmandu for a week or so. Much of our time was spent playing with the kids: jump rope, basketball, clapping games, Ninja, lots of hugs, all while they attempted to teach us some Nepali! Most of us worked: sweeping, painting, organizing, cleaning, constructing, and sewing. I was in a small group that helped to train and teach, both teachers and parents. I was blessed to take over the 5th grade class for a day and model some different approaches to teaching. The teachers are wonderful and they give their hearts to the kids they teach. However most of them have had little teacher training and they were eager to learn. What I do in a high-tech, comfy, heated college classroom on the other side of the world, they do with a broken piece of whiteboard in a cement room with no heat. They educate. I am so inspired. It was an amazing experience that is hard to confine to words. In the end, the kids just invade your heart.

Beyond serving at the school, we did a little sightseeing, joined a church retreat and, most epically, hiked 26.5 miles through the lower mountains of the Himalayas. The lessons learned on that journey are hard to learn any other way. Here’s a few of my trek take-aways: “When you think you can’t, you must”; “The most important part of the journey is the step right in front of you”; “Sometimes you journey up, sometimes down, sometimes you walk alone, sometimes you walk in a crowd, sometimes you are thrilled by an indescribable view, sometimes you are brought down by personal aches and pains, but no matter what, you journey onward”, and, lastly, “you are far more capable than you think you are.” The trek taught me deep, personal lessons about my walk with my God; things I couldn’t have learned any other way.

I learned so much from those who journeyed with me and those relationships are God’s precious gifts to me. The laughter, tears, talks, prayers and hugs bind you together in special ways.

I went to Nepal, not really knowing if God could use me, doubting that I would be of value, and fearful of not fitting in. But I was determined to “step out of the boat”, to make decisions based on faith, not on fear. And He blessed that choice. I still don’t know what God has in store for me but I am renewed, revived and refreshed for whatever it is. He knows I ain’t dead yet and He’s got a purpose for me. I am forever grateful for HYC Kathmandu 2016.

By Shane Engel 17 Jul, 2017

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 .

By Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope 22 Jun, 2017
Dr. Phavarine Menh, a member of the Phnom Penh Church of Christ and a HOPE worldwide physician in Cambodia since 1998, recently inspired an international audience at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio as she became the first international recipient of the “Empathy Amplified” award for compassion and empathy in medical care.

The occasion was the 8th annual conference entitled “Patient Experience: Empathy and Innovation” and was hosted by the renowned Cleveland Clinic (ranked the #2 Hospital in the United States by U.S. News and World Report). The “Empathy Amplified” award goes to only one recipient each year and “Dr. Rin,” as she is affectionately known, became the first ever international awardee.

Overcoming the Odds
Growing up during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, Dr. Rin like so many of her colleagues lost immediate family members and suffered a traumatic childhood with a severe disruption in her education. Despite major obstacles, in 1992 she completed her medical education in Russia and joined the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE staff in 1998. She is well known for her humility, compassion and love for the poor. Her nomination was a surprise, and unknown to her until she received the congratulatory letter from the Cleveland Clinic.

In nominating her, Maricel Manoza, a member of the SHCH finance staff, whose father suffered a stroke and was treated by Dr. Rin, noted her ability to “ understand our fears and motivations and make us feel safe. She restored our hope to a place we thought would never exist ”.

Dr. Rin stated, “It is my privilege to treat sick people, to help them have a better life and restore them to their beloved families.” She praised the culture of “kindness, compassion, integrity and respect” that has long been the hallmark of the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE and praised her colleagues whom she felt were equally deserving of the award. She concluded by saying, “Every day I get to go home from work knowing that I made a difference, that I was able to help change a life, change a family, change a nation…one at a time.”

Dr. Rin Receiving the Empathy Amplified Award

Click here to watch .

A Timely Challenge
She received a standing ovation by over 2,000 attendees as she walked off the stage. Her message is a timely one for all those who heal the sick. In her gentle way, without even knowing it, Dr. Rin laid down a challenge for us all: to rise above our obstacles and make this world a better place through empathy and compassionate service.

To help support the compassionate work of Dr. Rin and many others serving alongside her in Phnom Penh, make a gift today, change a life tomorrow.  
By Hope Worldwide 11 Apr, 2017
Susan Correa, a fashion entrepreneur in New York City has launched a clothing line and committed a portion of the proceeds from every garment sold to support HOPE ww  Children’s Nutritional Optimization Program in Central America. At HOPE  worldwide , our volunteers, donors and business partners are as unique and diverse as the families we serve. We are blessed to have passionate people engaging in many powerful ways. Susan Correa, fashion entrepreneur, philanthropist and member of the New York City Church of Christ, is shaking up the children's fashion industry with a sustainable business model and a compassionate bottom line.

In 2014, in an effort to make a better business model, Susan launched “Empower”, a school lunch program for undernourished children in India. For every purchase from her cooper & ella clothing line, Susan committed to provide a hot, nutritious meal. What started as a simple act of compassion ended up as a contribution of 186,000 meals for children attending a school operated by HOPE  foundation  India. Like most successful entrepreneurs, this was only the first step in her passionate mission to do business better.

In January 2017, Susan launched her new fashion line, art & eden. This new children's clothing line is the result of a two-year process for Susan as she followed her dream to create clothing that is better for the planet, better for the people who make them and better for the people who wear them. This time, a portion of every garment sold will benefit HOPE ww’s  Children’s Nutritional Optimization Program in Central America.

As a part of the HOPE  worldwide  Community Service Brigades, the Nutritional Optimization Program will help children with health challenges feel better, focus better and develop better during their most formative years. Susan’s business has committed to donate 7,000 doses of albendazole to cure 3,500 kids from stomach parasites and 1 million multivitamins to help kids rebuild and maintain health. Improved nutrition gives each child the opportunity to reach their full potential height experience healthy physical brain development and fully mature in their emotional and mental health.

We are so proud to have business partners like Susan as we work together to serve those in need. The fashion industry is taking note of this inspiring social enterprise. Susan’s line and our partnership have been featured on the cover of Smallish Magazine as well as covered by Redbook Magazine, fashion blogs and other industry publications ( www.artandeden.com/blogs/press ). 

PARTNER WITH US! To learn more, please email russ.hargrove@hopeww.org.
By Hope Worldwide 10 Apr, 2017
By Hope Worldwide 10 Apr, 2017

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.

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