In 2003, the civil war in Uganda was causing children to be torn from their families and turning them into child soldiers. I was a 21-year-old, middle-class, college girl halfway around the world, and my heart was breaking.
There have been many moments like this in my life.
Last year, I was overcome with a feeling that Simple Green Smoothies had to be doing more in the world. I love how we host free challenges and share tons of recipes, but I knew there were people we couldn’t reach in these ways… and I wanted to help them too.
Simple Green Smoothies has been such a gift to my family and the people on the team—it’s allowed us all to provide for our families while working from home. It got my family out of poverty and is helping me raise some pretty awesome and healthy kids.
When the opportunity came to support The Mushroom Cultivation Project in Cambodia through World Hope International (WHI), I felt something say “this is what you’ve been waiting for, Jen.” So, I immediately reached out to see how I could help.
Due to the high levels of poverty in rural Cambodia, husbands and wives are forced to migrate to other countries (like Thailand and Vietnam) and compromise themselves through harsh working conditions, sex trafficking and getting swindled out of a paycheck. They are willing to endure it for the hope of bringing enough money back to Cambodia to feed their kids.
World Hope International is offering another way.
Cambodia has a lucrative market for mushrooms. The majority of the country’s mushroom consumption comes from crops grown in Vietnam. Through extensive research and brainstorming, WHI developed a program along with local residents of a rural village to build grow houses that hold the potential to farm mushrooms all-year long.
The capability to earn an income from farming in all seasons is advantageous for families in this community because many also harvest cashews and rice. Rice only has one season every year, and cashew trees can take years to produce fruit. The hope of consistent income is something for which many are willing to work.
After learning all about the Mushroom Cultivation Project and how WHI is committed to a sustainable community development model (partnering with the community, not creating dependency), I had no option but to say “yes” and do everything in my power to support these Cambodian families.
Since that day, we’ve committed to…
1) raising $10,000 for WHI in 2018 (and again in 2019)
2) starting 10 new mushroom farms in this rural Cambodian village
3) visiting World Hope International in Cambodia and meeting with the local farmers and their families.