The Beginning of Our Street Kids Ministry
In April of 2011 we were first introduced to the street children of Battambang during a Holy Week service for Maundy Thursday. These kids were brought to the church and we were asked if there was anything that could be done for them at the church. After talking to the local church staff we started going out and picking up the kids from the streets a couple days a week for the afternoon. We would feed them, bathe, them, play with them, and teach them about Christ. Over the next year and a half God would provide the resources necessary to continue growing this program and even hire dedicated staff for it.
In late 2012 God began to open up new opportunities to not only continue this work with the street children but to go more in depth with them and serve them more directly. Thus prompting the formation of Crossing Cambodia to more effectively serve these children and their families. We have a variety of programs through which we aim to reach out to these children and hope to affect change in their lives and share the message of hope and salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.
About the Kids
The street children of Battambang are unique in so many ways.
Most of them just want to play, to be picked up, and to have someone tell them that they are special and loved.
The kids that we work with come from all over Battambang. Some come from a community of homeless families near the riverside, some from a small slum behind an old health club, and others that live in the abandoned railroad station. The families in all these locations are squatters and there is no way to know when or if the government may choose to evict them. Most street kids and their families are the outcasts of Cambodian society, there is little to no motivation to change anything.
The adults spend much of their time drinking or gambling while the children are sent out to beg or search for recyclables to earn money to buy meager meals and feed the parents’ vices.
The kids struggle to stay in school and are frequently malnourished and lacking in opportunities just to play freely and be children. Without education and jobs many of the boys will either be drawn into life as gangsters or as beggars who sniff glue on the street while the girls run the risk of being sold into the sex trade or married off at a very young age.
Our mission is to trust God and seek out ways to change this.
How We Care for the Children
Each day begins at 6:00 AM when we drive out to their communities and pick them up before school. Our advocates go out to where they live, drag them out of bed when necessary and load them up into our truck or tuk-tuk. We bring the children back our main office location where our first priority is to see that they receive a healthy meal for breakfast and are able to bathe and be properly dressed in a uniform before heading off to study. We bring the children to school and make sure they enter the school facility at 7:00 AM when their classes start. Then at 11:00 AM we pick the children up again and bring them to our office location for another meal, to complete homework assignments, study the Bible, and rest before our afternoon program begins.
In the afternoon we have tutors, English teachers, and coaches who come to our center. They provide individual attention as is needed for the children, teach them English, and engage them in sports and other activities until about 4:00 in the afternoon. It is at that time the children change back into their street clothes, most of which we’ve washed and mended, and climb back into our vehicles to return to their families. Most days the kids return to their families by 4:30 PM.
All of our kids are placed into small groups of about 4-6 children. This small group then has one full time advocate assigned to it whose job it is to keep up with the kids and provide support to their education that may be lacking from home. The advocate knows the lives of their kids, the advocate keeps up with the academic progress of the kids, and reports back to the Ministry Director about what additional needs these kids may have. A portion of your donation is used to help provide the salary for this crucial person in the children’s lives.
All About Sponsorships
By sponsoring a child you are helping us to put that child in school as well as providing an advocate to work with that child to keep up with their school work and check in on their home lives. For just $100 per month we can…
- Cover the cost of tuition
- Provide School Uniform and Supplies
- Provide breakfast and lunch each school day
- Transport to and from school
- Salary of full time advocate for a small group of children