The Advance Project Profile: Street Children Ministry - Cambodia
Missionary Clara Mridula Biswas gathers with some of the poor children with whom she serves in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She assists children at an orphanage center with education, offers Christmas and Easter programs and religious education, and works with families who pick through garbage dumps to earn a meager living.
UMNS FILE PHOTO/COURTESY GBGM
More than minimizing the negative effects of poverty, keeping children well fed and off the streets in Cambodia protects them from abuse and gives them opportunities for hope. This is just a part of the Street Children Ministry (Advance #14921A), which serves kids living in orphanages or in poor areas in four communities in Cambodia.
The Street Children Ministry works to offer better nutrition, education and Christian guidance to children who are susceptible to malnutrition and injustice. The ministry strives to develop activities that enhance the children's lives today and give them opportunities for the future.
Cambodia is a country damaged by war. Children make up half the population. Clara Biswas, the General Board of Global Ministries' missionary serving with the ministry, said it really is transforming lives.
"We are offering them a future through education," Biswas said in a recent article. "We are protecting them from being trafficked. We are helping them know that each one is a beloved child of God. We are raising a generation of confident leaders in Cambodia."
Some of those leaders are already emerging as older children involved with the Street Children Ministry grow up and give back to younger students. Older children who don't enter higher education are encouraged to obtain vocational job training. Those who do attend a university have opportunities to grow and learn by tutoring younger students in the community.
The ministry functions, as is written in Luke 4:18-19, "to bring hope to the hopeless, bring light to those who are in the dark, bring Christ to the poor, and share the love of God."
Biswas said support from those in The United Methodist Church is crucial to the ministry's work.
"Without your help, we can't do anything," she said. "Yours are the hands of God reaching out to these less privileged and less fortunate ones."