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.

On Sympathy vs. Empathy: the tendency to distance and how to stay in contact.

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By Aiya Leah Staller,  Art Therapy Master’s student at Naropa University

Service-Learning in Cambodia provides a unique opportunity to be a guest in another person’s country.  We are asking other people to share their stories with us through art, as we claim to help them by providing art therapy techniques.  What does it mean to be a “helper”? And how do we know if this is actually helpful? The image that is often portrayed in the U.S. culture is one of the “white savior” (do check out the link if you haven’t heard of this!) who comes in to help the less fortunate in countries that are not white. This idea pervades many of our psyche’s whether we want it to or not.  It is part of the U.S. culture and us; because most of us were raised here.  It may not always take the form of a white privileged person being a “savior” but there is usually some kind of power dynamic at play that is important to be aware of.  Often U.S. citizens believe that we are “saving” people in other countries, but this is simply not true. It can be a problematic belief that keeps us out of connection.  We may not be enacting it, but without being aware of this tendency, we are at risk of perpetuating it.  How do we stay accountable and challenge these belief systems? It is necessary for us to look critically at what our role and responsibility is in another country.  I know that many of us grapple with this responsibility and what it means to really be of service to another person, let alone another country.

It is our job to “unlearn” our cultural programming.  As students, we are learning about Cambodia, a new world to many of us.  Meeting people we have never met. Anticipating developing relationships. Wondering how best to serve. Anxious about what it all means. Excited to connect, and afraid to connect. Learning. We aren’t saviors. There is little that we can do to fix the issues that are happening in Cambodia for the people there. Trying to “fix” someone, or another culture, automatically sends a message that there is something wrong with them. We aren’t trying to fix anyone. I propose instead, that we are wanting to to meet them. To connect. To partner on this path together. Real healing comes from connections. From sharing an experience together. From being in the dirty, gritty, painful, scary, and lonely places that most people avoid. It’s about sharing joy and sorrow together. It’s making art together and sitting with someone. It’s not knowing what to do while we hurt with them, laugh with them, or cry with them.  It’s about contact and connection.  It’s about accountability to ourselves and others to be vulnerable in a way that is safe, though potentially scary, for all involved.  And it may be more about us and opening to our own cultural wounds through service and learning.

Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher who many of you may have seen or heard of, talks about the difference between Sympathy and Empathy. Katy Davis animates one of Brene’s talks on this topic in an easy to understand cartoon which illustrates how we wish to be with those we meet.

This relates to our work in Cambodia.  Our responsibility to meet people where they are at.  To keep the connection alive.  It’s about connecting to our own feelings and staying with them, owning them, and staying in contact with the people we are hoping to be of service to.   For many of us, as future therapists, we are learning how to climb into the caves that people have, climb into dark cultural caves, climb into our own caves, and sit in the dark without pulling away.  It’s pulling out a flashlight and exploring the realities that are sometimes difficult to see.  It’s looking at our own assumptions so we can actually see what is in front of us. It is staying present with whatever is happening in the world.  It is a practice of staying in connection.  On a larger scale, this project is a practice in staying in connection with the people we have partnered with in Cambodia.  We are friends, allies, partners, and human beings forming a connection together and committing to not turn away, to distance, or to abandon.  As students, we have a huge responsibility and great deal of unknowing.   We really are going to be guests in another person’s land.   Their willingness to welcome us in is such a gift to us.   I’m not sure how we can express our gratitude.  From the stories that I have heard from past trips, all I can think to say is, like the bear in the cave says, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me.”

Service-Learning trips and Social Justice organizations often struggle with ways to stay accountable and ethical while providing services and learning.  Please feel free to share your own explorations around this topic.  How do we stay connected with Empathy vs. distancing ourselves through Sympathy?

We would love to hear from you.

For other blogs on Cultural Competency vs Cultural Humility, check out Daniel Rifkin’s earlier blog on our site as well.

 

Canvases for Cambodia Video Release!

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Please enjoy our video and JOIN US
November 8-10 for
Canvases for Cambodia: The 48-hour Painting Marathon
Nalanda Campus
Naropa University

Public hours 8am-12 midnight
All abilities welcome, contact us at ncas-i@naropa for special accommodations

or donate at http://www.crowdrise.com/NCAS-IPaintingMarathon2013

Stop the Traffik!

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Advocacy group in Amsterdam addresses the trafficking happening within the red light district. Check out how they bring awareness to the public.

 

Team 2013 Service Learning Video Release

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Please enjoy moments from our trip!  Let us know your thoughts.

Small Resources=Big Possibilites: The Making of a Matchbox Masterpiece

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by Erin Shannon and Emily Seagrave, students of NCAS-I

A Beautiful and Intelligent Film about Cultural Humility

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“Cultural Humility: People, Principles and Practices,” is a 30-minute documentary by San Francisco State professor Vivian Chávez, that mixes poetry with music, interviews, archival footage, and images of community, nature and dance to explain what Cultural Humility is and why we need it. The film describes a set of principles that guide the thinking, behavior and actions of individuals and institutions to positively affect interpersonal relationships as well as systems change. These principles are:
• Lifelong learning and critical self-reflection
• Recognizing and changing power imbalances
• Developing institutional accountability

More than a concept, Cultural Humility is a process of communal reflection to analyze the root causes of suffering and create a broader, more inclusive view of the world. Originally developed by Doctors Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia (1998) to address health disparities and institutional inequities in medicine, Cultural Humility is now used in public health, social work, education, and non-profit management. It is a daily practice for people who deal with hierarchical relationships, changing organizational policy and building relationships based on trust.

The film tells stories of successes and challenges, and the road in between for those working to develop partnerships among community members, practitioners and academics. It encourages us to realize our power, privilege and prejudices, and be willing to accept that acquired education and credentials alone are insufficient to address social inequality. The first segment introduces Cultural Humility and features interviews with Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia. The second clip offers the context and setting, poetry readings by San Francisco State public health students and an analysis of privilege and power. The third segment is about Community Based Participatory Research and Education; it features the work of the Chinese Progressive Association academic partners and critical educators/students. The last segment brings closure with a reflection on peace, embodied images of nature and a quote by Audre Lorde.

Audiences who might find this documentary helpful include professionals, students, providers, organizers and policy makers in public health, social work, medicine, psychology, nursing, education and more.

M. Tervalon, J. Murray-Garcia (1998). Cultural humility versus cultural competence: a critical distinction in defining physician training outcomes in multicultural education, Journal of health care for the poor and underserved, Vol. 9, No. 2. (May 1998), pp. 117-125.

Vivian Chavez © 2012, Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…
Category
Education
License
Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

NCAS-I Forms Partnership with Lotus Outreach!

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We are thrilled to announce our new Partnership with Lotus Outreach, and the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, which we will be joining forces with for our service learning trip in May. We will be working specifically with their Counseling and Reintegration Program that provides a safe haven for victims of violence and the sex trafficking industry,to bring art therapy training and interventions to their organization. It is an exiting new possibility and one we hope grows as we work together to heal the effects of physical and sexual trauma that such heinous crimes bring.

To learn more about this organization and their Counseling and Reintegration program you can visit their webpage at Lotus Outreach.

Lotus Outreach is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to ensuring the education, health and safety of at-risk and exploited women and children in the developing world. Lotus Outreach achieves its mission by supporting the development of grassroots projects in vulnerable communities. By working with local people and organizations, Lotus Outreach ensures the local ownership, cultural relevance and cost effectiveness of each project.

Originally established to support refugee education, Lotus Outreach now also helps rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking and keep at-risk students in school.

Cambodian Living Arts Class – Traditional Music

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by Sam-Ang Sam
Khmer music is an important aspect of Cambodian life and culture. It is a significant component in religious and traditional ceremonies such as weddings or temple celebrations. Khmer civilization reached its peak during the Angkor period, from the ninth to fifteenth centuries when great monuments were built, with elaborate carvings depicting myths, gods and aspects of daily life. The carvings musical ensembles on bas-reliefs are nearly identical to the ensembles performing in Cambodia today, where virtually every village in Cambodia possesses a music ensemble. This continuity is testimonial to the strength of this ancient tradition.

Have you bought your ticket for JAMBODIA on 9/19 yet? First time DROP SWITCH will be headlining a show in Denver and the proceeds go toward the CAMBODIAN LIVING ARTS.

NCAS-I will be there! Come Dance with us.

Let us know and we will get a pre sale ticket to you ASAP! $7

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH
Cervantes Other Side – Denver, CO
Doors @ 8pm, Show @ 9pm – $7/$10 DOS
JAMBODIA: A Benefit for Cambodian Living Arts

CAMBODIAN LIVING ARTS …… BRINGING MUSIC BACK !!!

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Have you bought your ticket for JAMBODIA on 9/19 yet? First time DROP SWITCH will be headlining a show in Denver and the proceeds go toward the CAMBODIAN LIVING ARTS.

NCAS-I will be there! Come Dance with us.

Let us know and we will get a pre sale ticket to you ASAP! $7

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH
Cervantes Other Side – Denver, CO
Doors @ 8pm, Show @ 9pm – $7/$10 DOS
JAMBODIA: A Benefit for Cambodian Living Arts