This is the seventh in a series of articles as part of the WorldCraftssm Set1Free campaign. This campaign highlights WorldCrafts artisan groups working to end sexual exploitation and human trafficking among the world’s poor.

Fires ripped through the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2001 destroying homes and displacing hundreds of poverty-stricken families. Thousands of people were relocated outside the capital city onto barren rice fields with no water, electricity, or other infrastructure. Desperation followed.

Christian relief workers began visiting and working in the area. By 2003 relationships had blossomed, and Kingdom Creations was started to provide a legitimate, sustainable employment opportunity for those had been resettled. Now the artisan group has expanded to neighboring villages as well. The people in these areas, from several different ethnic groups, are among the poorest of the poor, and the children especially are at serious risk of being exploited. Those families with young daughters are often tempted to sell them into prostitution, if only for a limited time, in order to pay off debts.

Kingdom Creations has grown from 4 full-time employees to 12 (both men and women), with hopes to expand further. There are also about 30 individuals doing piece work for the artisan group, which blesses even more families.

Tammy,* our WorldCrafts liaison, says that most of the artisans were unbelievers or new believers when they began employment. But the changes she’s seen in their character, their workmanship, and their spiritual lives have been dramatic. Today they are continually learning new skills and growing in dedication to their craft, which has improved the quality of the products. They’re also drawing closer to the Lord as they sing, read Scripture, and pray together. Despite the various backgrounds of the workers, Kingdom Creations has become a family as they go through life together, celebrating births and marriages and mourning the loss of loved ones.

Here are just a few of the life-changing stories reported from Cambodia:

  • Li works for Kingdom Creations and cares for her grandchildren and one mentally challenged daughter. Her older daughter, son-in-law, and husband died from AIDS. She likely would have given her granddaughters over to prostitution or sold them had she not been able to work with Kingdom and learned how to do a trade to support them. She is now remarried and walking with the Lord. She is a quiet but gentle leader in her community.
  • Kiet, originally from Vietnam, was a tailor by trade. He was working and spending time with a rough crowd. He moved to the Phnom Penh area, found work with Kingdom Creations, and became a Christian about six months later. He is now married and he and his wife are expecting their first child.

Through Kingdom Creations and its relationship to WorldCrafts, Thu can now provide her children food and needed items for school, even when her husband is looking for work. She and her children are learning of God’s care and protection. Thu asks, “Pray for me that I can show God’s love to my husband.”

*Name changed for security.

Your purchase of these handmade items from WorldCrafts allows Kingdom Creations to expand its work among the poor in Cambodia. As WorldCrafts orders additional products from Kingdom Creations, this artisan group can reach out to more families providing them spiritual hope and a sustainable lifestyle.

WorldCrafts is part of the Fair Trade Federation. Please check our Web site for more products and stories! For a free catalog, call 1-800-968-7301. Join us on Facebook! WorldCrafts is a division of WMU®.

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