NCAS-I is proud to introduce our newest members to the 2014 team, Katherine Hanczaryk and Chatti Phal Brown!

Blog by Sue Wallingford

Katie and Chatti will accompany the 2014 team to Cambodia this May as mentors and supervisors to the students.  Both bring a wealth of experience to the team and NCAS-I is very excited to have them!

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Katie, a graduate of the Art Therapy program in 2012, was on the first team that went to Cambodia of May 2012.  She was instrumental in the creation of NCAS-I offering endless volunteer hours researching and implementing the program in the beginning stages.  Katie brought so much enthusiasm to the project from the very start and continued to show support even after she graduated by her participation in the annual Painting Marathons, and Small Resources = Big Possibilities Gala and other NCAS-I events. Katie co-presented along with 3 other alumni and myself on a panel that described our work with trafficked girls in Phnom Penh, Seeds Sown from the Killing Fields: Tending to the Lotus Flower at the 2013 Expressive Arts Therapy Conference in Berkely California.

NCAS-I is very excited for what she brings to this years team.  Katie is a long time practitioner of mindfulness meditation.  As a Buddhist herself she understands deeply the traditions inherent in this religious practice. Since Cambodia is 95% Buddhist Katie will an invaluable resource to the team in helping us to understand religious traditions practiced there and she will lead us in our sitting practices.  As well, Katie is a textile artist with tremendous skill in working with fabrics and many of the materials we use in our art therapy groups in Cambodia.  She is coordinating our work with WHADA, helping to create designs along with the students that can then be replicated by the women at WHADA and then sold in the US through fair trade.  Katie also brings a great sense of curiosity, creativity, love of life, and compassion.  Thanks Katie for joining our team!

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Chatti graduated from Naropa’s Art Therapy program in 2010.  After graduation she moved to Cambodia, her native country to work as an Art Therapist at an NGO in Phnom Penh.  Chatti was born in a Thai refugee camp after her mother and father escaped the genocide of the Khmer Rouge.  She spent the first 3 years of her life in the refuge camp before moving to California with her family.  Even though she did not grow up in Cambodia many of the traditions of the Cambodian people were instilled in her by her family and Cambodian community surrounding her in California.  Chatti spent two years in Phnom Penh working at Ragamuffin, an organization that utilizes the expressive arts for healing the multitude of suffering that exists among the Cambodian people.

Chatti, besides her obvious contributions to the team is also helping us all to learn the Khmer language so we can communicate with the Cambodian people to a small degree.  She also understands the Cambodian culture, the trauma endemic in their culture and the social graces that are needed to form respectful relationships.  Being that Chatti lived in Phnom Penh for two years the resources she has to bring will be an added bonus.  Chatti as a professional photographer will help us to highlight many of the meaningful moments we will have through the lens of her camera.  Chatti as a person brings wisdom, humility, gracefulness, and playfulness. Thank you Chatti for joining our team!

We are looking forward to a great trip this year because of these two AND the great team of students that are preparing for this trip.  Please stay tuned for their introduction!

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By Emma Ehrenthal Naropa Art Therapy Master Student

While diving deeper into preparation for our service learning trip to Cambodia I have been thinking a lot about how my actions here in the United States effect Cambodia.  Currently, Cambodian garment workers who were protesting for higher wages to meet reasonable cost of living expenses were met with violence on January 3rd, 2014.  Security opened fire on peaceful protesters, killing five and injuring many more.  (IPSNEWS)

It brings up some familiar issues, countries outsourcing labor to the cheapest factory they can find, while not feeling connected or responsible to the people working for them.  The United States is this country. We are the ones buying these products and disconnecting from the people who make them.  As a student traveling to Cambodia for my service learning trip I grapple with this feeling of consumer guilt.  I can see the connections and impact I have on supporting the need for women to work in the sex trafficking industry.  The majority of garment workers are women, and if they cannot support themselves, much less their families with their wages, their options for careers are limited.  

It is a huge problem that is far away from us, but we can make a positive impact from the Untied States by making small changes in our daily lives.  Supporting companies that are providing workers with fair wages and safe working environments not only means your money is going to them, but your support is helping to raise the bar for workers rights throughout the world.  I wanted to look at companies who are using fair trade ethics to create meaningful jobs in Cambodia.

Daughter’s of Cambodia is creating alternative ways for woman to make a sustainable living in Cambodia outside of the sex industry.  They provide women with career building opportunities including skill building classes, counseling services, and medical treatment. If you are in Cambodia you can visit their shop, hotel, spa, and café, but you can also support them from the United States by buying their products from Better Way Imports

 Cambodian Threads is an organization creating sustainable job opportunities for Cambodians, and bringing the products over to the United States so that we can support them from our home.  They are raising the bar for working environments in Cambodia and supporting education by donating proceeds to local schools.

Rajana is working to provide Cambodian artisans fair wages and healthy working environments.  By developing professional opportunities for these workers to market themselves Rajana is making it possible for Cambodians to lead successful careers in the handicraft market.

When I heard about people being treated inhumanely I used to disconnect and shut down, it felt like too terrible and large of a problem for me to handle.  But now I am learning to face these parts of our world and see my own impact.  I see hope now, knowing that I can be more aware of my actions.  When I go to the store and buy fair trade items I feel accomplished, I know I am spending an extra few dollars to make a significant difference for our global community.  

Sex Trafficking in Cambodia Documentary: How Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC) works to support women and girls

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This BBC documentary takes a look at the child-slavery involved in sex-trafficking. Poverty, is the main reason girls become trapped in the cycle of sex-trafficking and prostitution. Families will often sell their children in order to survive. Girls, themselves, may then enter the sex-industry as a way to support themselves, while enduring the abuse that is involved. Often, they do not have many options, or choices, that would allow them to escape the cycle of trafficking and poverty. Because of this, they are vulnerable to continued abuse and mistreatment. CWCC, our partner organization, works to provide support and resources for women and girls who are coming out of the sex-trafficking industry. In the last section of this BBC documentary, CWCC is featured. They provide scholarships to the young women in the documentary who are seeking a different path. The CWCC handles around 300 trafficking cases each year (Phnom Penh Post). Their work is pivotal in providing choice, as their mission states, they are “Helping Women Help Themselves” by providing resources and financial aid to women and girls coming out of the sex-trafficking industry.