Dr. Christine Dinh is a U.S.-educated physician with a focus on Women's Health. She has recently been accepted to work with Doctors Without Borders and has been an Event Ambassador for Senhoa for 4 years. She is currently helping us develop our Volunteer Management program stateside. Here she recounts her volunteer experience with Senhoa and her visit to our programs this year.
All it took was saying “yes” to help volunteer at a Senhoa Fundraising event in 2011. I truly didn’t know much about Senhoa at the time, other than it being a organization focused on helping survivors of human trafficking and those vulnerable and the beautifully handcrafted jewelry that comes from it all.
But with each Senhoa event, I got to learn more and more beyond the surface of Senhoa, the jewelry, and the cause; I saw and felt the heart and passion that goes into Senhoa. The individuals, in the states and Southeast Asia, who are a part of making Senhoa what it is growing to be.
As a doctor applying for Doctors Without Borders (Medicin Sans Frontieres) deciding on where to do my assignment in Asia, what better way to know than to take a trip and visit the two countries I could potentially work for.
As a Senhoa Volunteer for more than three years, it is a complete blessing and gift to make the trip to Cambodia, to see the country but most importantly visit Senhoa’s three programs (Lotus Kids Club 1 & 2, Our Own Hands, Safe House) that I constantly speak of, promote and fundraise to support for the past 3-4yrs.
Playing with the happy and healthy children of LKC.
I got to see the results of our efforts of fundraising and promoting awareness of the organization throughout the years. The change and efforts, we (like myself) have put in towards Senhoa’s programs are transparently seen on every single girl/woman/child’s smiles and in their bright-eyed faces looking back at us. Not to mention the happiness and gratitude felt as we were fully embraced with sweet, warm hugs from small arms wrapped around us before getting off of our tuk tuks to be called “teacher” because it is a title they hold with love and respect and look up to for guidance.
Time spent interacting with the kids and Senhoa staff members at LKC 1 & 2 and talking to the girls at Senhoa’s Our Own Hands Jewelry program and to see them firsthand making the jewelry pieces, so skillful and talented, gave me the reaffirmation in my heart and mind that, “Yes, the time, funds, drive and effort I make for Senhoa is ALL WORTH IT.” I often get asked “Why are you involved?” I have tried to explain to many including my amazing boyfriend, who at first had a hard time understanding my growing passion and love for this organization but quickly understood why during our trip to Cambodia and visit to Senhoa’s programs and facilities. He’s a traveling professional photographer which means he has seen and captured an array of things, so to hear over his 10+ years of travel that our visit to Senhoa’s LKC and OOH programs was a highlight of his travels speaks volumes.
So "why am I still making time to be involved?” Because if you get to know the organization, especially the individuals who are apart of it, you will get to see and feel the heart that goes into bringing change. I know Senhoa Foundation is helping survivors of human trafficking and those vulnerable get to live the “3 C’s of Life” through Empowerment. Employment. Emancipation.