How we became 'Friends'
'Friends of Anjali' is founded by Remko and Vera Vochteloo, based on personal experience and best intentions:
Summer 2009 we went to Cambodia for holidays with our two children (aged nine and ten). We chose to volunteer in this developing country, because we wanted our children to experience a life completely different from the luxury they take for granted most of the time.
We were shocked by the poor conditions in which the majority of the Cambodian people have to live. The situation in the cities is slowly getting better, in rural areas (that takes up most of the country) shortage of basic needs such as food, hygiene and education is a big problem. Many families have to live of a dollar a day. Neglecting children because of poverty is unavoidable for most parents. There is no money to send children to school. Those who can go to school, often have to work afterwards to help raise the family income. They roam the streets begging, or sell food. Less visible, but even worse is the number of children that end up in prostitution, often at a very young age. Child trafficking happens every day, the number of HIV infected is by far the highest in the region. Even if the government wants to make a change, it simply can't do so without the help of others.
Because we wanted to 'make a change', we ended up in Siem reap at Anjali-house, shelter to 80 children. We assisted the local teaching staff in English lessons, General knowledge, Biology, Geography, History and art workshops.
We fully enjoyed our time with these children, and witnessed how some of them transformed from sad into the happy, energetic kids they are supposed to be.
When our time at the shelter was up, it was very hard for us to say goodbye. We got so fond of these children, and felt heartbroken to leave them behind. We knew they would be okay as long as the they were in the care of the shelter, but what if the donations and funds would run dry? All efforts would be without results, and the children would end up on the streets again.
We felt the need to support these children when we got back to Europe, to help Anjali-house continue their good work and make sure these children will make it as young adults with an education, and a bright future.
The first two sponsors through Friends of Anjali are our own two children. They support one child each, donating an amount every month so this child can go to school and work towards a better future for himself and his family. May this be an example to many, and may many supporters make it happen for Anjali's children!