When You Realize That You Are Living Life in a Bubble
Like me, do you ever feel as if you live life in a bubble? Living in a bubble is perhaps defined as living safely in the confines of our comfort zone, with all the trappings of modern affluence. Recently I’ve wondered why is it that when bloggers blog about issues of poverty, trafficking or injustice, there is little interest. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it is because we are often overwhelmed with our own lives, and it’s simply too much to hear of the atrocities that are going on in the world. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we care too deeply and we simply can’t cope with the realities of the world’s brokenness.
But I’ve been challenged recently about living life in a bubble. And ignoring the snow forecasts, last night I ventured out into the cold, to hear an inspiring speaker. Sue is a New Zealander who has spent the last eleven years counselling victims of trafficking in Cambodia with Hagar International. She tells the story of having her own bubble popped around ten years ago when she visited Cambodia and came face to face with a young girl of fifteen. Serena (not her real name) was lying in a makeshift hospital bed in a run down hospital, dying of aids. She had been sold into sexual slavery at the age of twelve by her mother to finance her crack habit. At the age of fifteen she had been thrown out of a brothel because she was sick and was picked up by World Vision on the streets of Pnom Phen. Sue tells of how meeting Serena really broke her. She was out of her comfort zone, overwhelmed, and lost for words.
It is coming face to face with personal heart wrenching stories like these that really makes the reality hit home. It is estimated that there are more people enslaved today than ever before. And it’s not just in developing nations. It occurs even in first world countries. But many organisations are doing great work. Just this week, nearly 15,000 bars of soap with stickers listing the National Human Trafficking hotline number will be distributed to 100+ hotels in the US as the Major League All-Star Game approaches by the organisation A21. http://a21.cta.gs/0ia. And also this week, #Visa, #MasterCard, and #AmEx have barred their credit cards from being used to purchase ads for sex on Backpage.com, a website that serves as a hub for #sextrafficking. This is a significant step in the fight against sexual exploitation! http://reut.rs/1glpbJZ.
While there are many organisations that work in the areas of prevention, rescue and prosecution, Hagar International works therapeutically with survivors of trafficking and extreme abuse. They ‘do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, to restore a broken life’. Hagar International provides trauma counselling for child and adult victims of trafficking at a live-in rehabilitation centre. They employ highly skilled specialist trauma counsellors and caregivers. These professionals work with young women like Kaylan.
‘With her black sharp eyes, Kalyan is a friendly and energetic woman. It is hard to believe that she has had such a dark past. When she was 15 years old, she was trafficked for sexual exploitation by her mother. Now 19, she is a beautiful young woman living with a friend with support from Hagar.
Kalyan is grateful to Hagar for providing her with a range recovery services, in particular counselling.
“When I came to Hagar, I learned a lot. The programmes made me feel relieved and happy until I forgot all the painful memories,” she said.
Despite Kalyan experiencing serious trauma, she has enjoyed success in Hagar’s educational programmes. She achieved an outstanding study record in Hagar’s Community Learning Centre while she was living in the Girls Recovery Shelter.
Kaylan was loved by all the teachers and was seen as a top student. Although studying Khmer language was challenging for Kalyan because her mother tongue is Vietnamese, she can read and write Khmer well now.
“I am always the number one student in the class, or sometimes I am number two,” she said.
Kalyan still loves studying but felt it would take too long to finish high school. She decided to join Hagar’s Employment Empowerment project and train in a vocation.
“I know that I am completely adult now, I want to have one particular skill for myself, before I leave Hagar,” she said.
Currently, Kalyan is training at a very reputable bakery café in Phnom Penh and will become an employee next month! Her supervisor is very pleased with her commitment to the job and her overall performance. She hopes to become a barista at the café when employed full-time.
Once she learns job skills, Kalyan would like to go back to live with her mother who has just been released from prison. She forgives her mother for what she did to her, believing the law has punished her enough. Hagar will work closely with Kalyan through the reunification. Read more stories: https://hagarinternational.org/new-zealand/stories/
Living a Wrecked Life
Do you want to live what is called a wrecked life? Jeff Goins, author of ‘Wrecked’ argues that ‘We all need to be wrecked, to allow the pain of a broken world to slam into our comfortable lives—and let it change us. But that’s just the beginning.’ A wrecked life is one that has come face to face with the most difficult of life circumstances and is shaken up yet transformed. But how to we get out of living life in a bubble? We can admit that we are living in a bubble, do something to get out of our comfort zone, and put ourselves in situations that will require bravery. That’s how we grow.
For more information about the transformational work of Hagar International, and to sponsor a child like Kaylan, please visit: