In 2015, I was lucky enough to be chosen to go to Cambodia and spend three months teaching English to children.
The school I volunteered at was built on a former landfill. All the children who attended the school used to work long hours on this dumpsite, without any form of education, healthcare or stability in their life. What’s even more inspiring is the fact that not only were the students educated, the parents were also provided with life skills and educated on the importance of keeping their children in school, as opposed to becoming ‘street children’. United Nations defines street children to be “any boy or girl for whom the street in the widest sense of the word has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood, and who is inadequately protected, supervised or directed by responsible adults.”
Fast forward three years to June 2018, I was lucky enough to be offered the role as a family worker at Bonnie’s. Similar to my experience in Cambodia I have been able to see both children and their mums overcome adversity, increase their knowledge, absorb life skills and make positive choices to enable and create a better future for themselves and their children. Every time I think about how unfortunate some people are and the poor deck of cards they are dealt, it reminds me of this quote by Francis Bacon “The more one knows, the more one will be able to control events”.
Every day I see women walk through Bonnie’s front door and leave that little bit more empowered. Whether it’s attending the creative group, volunteering at Oz Harvest or simply having a chat with myself or another family worker.
In both my roles in Cambodia and now at Bonnie’s, my job is to empower women and young children with the knowledge and confidence to make positive decisions in their lives. Throughout the last few years I have seen both children and women take on the challenge of absorbing as much knowledge as they can and then passing that on to someone else. In Cambodia, it was the parents who passed on the message of the importance of education, to their children. Here at Bonnie’s, it’s the courageous women who are introducing positive changes to their children. Both breaking cycles of some sort.
Together, by absorbing all the knowledge contained by those who surround us, we can grow, challenge, and create a better life for both ourselves and those around us. Knowledge is power, and there is definitely power in numbers.
Written by Ciara