While donations are the fuel that provides the actual ability to provide programs of compassion, often donors wish to become more involved. We encourage this! However, given the sensitive nature of many of our projects and the associated security issues, few actually get to go and visit our work in Cambodia.
But there is a tremendous need for us to be active on this side of the ocean in bringing life to those who suffer. As word about Ratanak International becomes more widely known, many people are taking their skills and talents and putting them to work for children in Cambodia that suffer in anonymity. They assist in public awareness and fundraising in all sorts of ways. We want to encourage you to do the same. Traditional medical skills, training in counseling, international development etc. are all easy to apply overseas. But those of us without such skills can often feel somehow ill-equipped and not qualified to assist. Don't believe it for a second! We have found that God does not turn down the offer of an open heart and hands. Whatever your skills or passion, there are opportunities for you to assist us in public awareness and fundraising.
It is exciting to see how people, recently, have not been holding back. They have been very creative using their own skills to support those in Cambodia. We want to encourage you in this. Christian missions is not about being passive, whether here or overseas, it is about being active, engaged and determined to make a difference. This process, in itself, is enriching for those who decide to jump in. Whether it is a sponsored sporting event, musical coffee house, bake sale, the showing of an applicable movie, house party for friends and neighbors, dessert auction or church information meeting, there are opportunities for everyone. We encourage you to think about the skills you have and the skills of your friends, youth group, office staff, and church. Join with us in changing lives. After all, Brian McConaghy, the founder of Ratanak International, was a Weapons Specialist with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Such skills are not on the top of the list of requirements for any Christian missions organization! As Brian says, "With a skill set as useless as mine, it is clear - if God can use me, he can use absolutely anyone. All he needs is your hands and heart".
In this section of the website we offer you some ideas, information and resources that we hope you will find useful as you think about planning your own fundraising initiative. We also want to take this opportunity to celebrate the creativity and commitment of supporters in finding ways to be an incredible blessing to Cambodia. THANK YOU to all of those mentioned in this Featured Fundraisers section and to all of the countless committed individuals, groups, and corporations that have not yet been mentioned here. Your partnerships mean so much to us and are such a blessing to the lives of Cambodians in need.
Here are some examples of a variety of initiatives to both encourage and
Washing Laundry, Creating Change
An original and resourceful initiative being implemented by Stephen McGarvey and Natalie Sarlo in Mississauga, Ontario, is making a difference to the lives of exploited children in Cambodia.
As landlords of property in Toronto and Mississauga, the aim of their initiative is simple but very effective. 100% of the money that residents spend in these buildings on using the laundry facilities goes straight to Ratanak International in support of our child exploitation projects!
Stephen and Natalie are dedicated to this cause and believe that standing in the gap and raising awareness for these kids is something that they, and their residents, can and must do.
They have alreadyraised thousands towards Ratanak's child exploitation projects, and this figure is growing each month! We really appreciate what they are doing and hope their creative initiative will inspire others to consider how they can use their own unique ideas to make a difference in Cambodia.
The card pictured here, and similar posters, were created by Stephen, Natalie and their team, to share with their residents about how their laundry money is being put to good use!
To find out more about Stephen and Natalie and this initiative, visit their
In the Fall of 2008, God put it on my heart to make jewelry and sell it to raise money for Ratanak International. A good friend of mine had been to Cambodia and had told me about the atrocities that went on there. The situation was just so huge, and so terrible I was devastated beyond words and didn't know what to do.
Even when God put it on my heart to sell jewelry, I stalled for a while because I had no idea how to do it! I didn't know how to make jewelry, where to sell it, or anything!!! All I had was a desire in my heart. Gradually, God filled in the details and the practicality of how to do this developed. I looked at what sorts of necklaces people were wearing and figured out how to make them. I started having jewelry-making parties, first at my house, and then at other people's houses, where I show people how to make necklaces, and they each pay $20 to take their creation home with them.
I use these parties to raise awareness about sex trafficking in Cambodia and the history of this terribly broken country. My goal isn't just to raise money, but to share with people my heart for Cambodia, to give them facts so that they can understand what is going on and then their compassion can be aroused to action. All in all, by the end of 2009, I had raised nearly $3000!
Sugar and Spice Tea:
The Sugar and Spice Tea was an afternoon of women gathering together to share some time, some refreshments and of course to hear about the work of Ratanak International (Lisa - Toronto Ratanak Rep was invited to share).
The tables were set with porcelain dolls to remind us of the little "dolls" God has all over His world. The room had displays of Cambodian items - the Cambodian flag, dragon fruit, chopsticks, and a beautiful handmade dress, that yes, did actually come from Cambodia. The dessert for the day was Num Tirk Doung; a Cambodian recipe for coconut cake. And our tea was a spicy Chai tea.
We welcomed approx. 35 women to the tea.
Lisa was wonderful as she shared her heart, her passion and her love for Cambodia and in particular for the young girls of Cambodia. It was a message of 'what now' - what will you do with the knowledge you have been given? Some suggestions were made to give, to pray, to write to government leaders, to host a dinner party or simply share with another friend. We were blessed to receive for Ratanak International approx. $300.00. We have since heard that some have been moved to support Ratanak International. Others have been moved to pray and others have been moved to share the information. We were delighted with the afternoon of tea and pray that each one was blessed but more importantly that God was and would be blessed by the hearts moved to care and undergird for the lives of His incredibly beautiful girls in Cambodia.
School Hat and Shade Day:
The theme for this school year at Valley Manor is Hands Around the World. To increase the students' global knowledge, as well as to encourage the students to help others less fortunate than themselves, the staff invited Debbie Shiels (a former teacher of the school and a rep for Ratanak) to present information about Cambodia to staff and students K-Gr. 8. in an assembly on Dec. 8, 2009.
The students listened intently as they saw a life so different from their own. They viewed beautiful countryside and roads, bridges and buildings in disrepair. They also saw human skulls, a land mine victim and people living at garbage dumps and children living in prisons with their mother's because the alternative could be worse. They saw hospital conditions and prison conditions of the inmates.
response of the students and staff was overwhelming. On Dec. 17, 2009, the kids
came to school with their loonies and toonies and their hats and sunglasses. It
was Hat and Shade Day. Normally the kids aren't allowed to wear hats in school,
but on this day if they gave a loonie or toonie, they could wear their hat and
sunglasses in school. One Grade 2 student, who had won $50.00 in an art
contest, gave the whole amount to help kids in prisons. Another teacher matched
the amount the students in his Gr.8 class had raised. The school goal was to
raise $500.00. Cheers could be heard from everywhere in the building when the
final tally of $1295.62 was announced over the intercom on the last day of
school before the Christmas break.
First ever event
October 17th raised over $1000 towards Ratanak International's Foster Program to help girls rescued from the sex trade. A testament to taking a step out and engaging your community (In this case other moms and friends) to make a difference in Cambodia! Geills was so encouraged by the response and support that she found once she began to step out and take the initiative to see this event come together. Read the Manotick Messenger's article here.
The day was amazing for all involved. The fact that the forecast
all week was 90% rain with thunderstorms made some decide to cancel but for
those who came it was not only clear of rain but the perfect weather to walk.
We were a strong group of women. All with one purpose. One lovely lady said it
well, "It was time to stop doing things just for myself and start to give back
in some way". I am so proud of this group.
Lee first contacted Ratanak International via the website and started to plan this first annual fundraising walk called Hope Revolution in Brooklyn, New York.The ladies walked 5, 10, or 15 miles on October 3, 2009 to raise over $2600 US for the NewSong Project. You can view their slideshow here.
At the Conference, I met Brian McConaghy, the founder of Ratanak International. I felt a connection with Brian. He is from my hometown Vancouver and he attended my old church there. As I listened to him speak, a still small voice was leading me to dream about joining his organization to help the children in Cambodia.
I find it an awesome thing that God would use me to be part of His healing process. To raise funds for the children in Cambodia, my young piano students, ages 5 to 18, will be playing in a fundraising concert here in Toronto.
These young students are the same ages as the girls who are sold into the
world of violence and abuse in Cambodia. At the concert, we celebrate the gift
of our children here in Canada and at the same time we remember the suffering
of the children in Cambodia.
We finally did it... we were able to have our first Ottawa Ratanak
fundraiser. The Garage and Bake sale was a success. It was a great opportunity
to share information about Ratanak International. It generated a lot of
interest. I wanted to thank everyone who donated items and who baked.
Running a Marathon:
The date is Sunday May 10. The time is 7.25 a.m. I am standing outside a Shopping Mall in Mississauga. Being an introvert, and someone who usually keeps away from large crowds. I should be feeling extremely uncomfortable. I'm not; in fact I am jumping up and down in anticipation of what awaits me. I have chosen today to run the full 42.2 km Mississauga Marathon as a means of raising funds and awareness for the NewSong Centre in Cambodia. I trained five months for today. I have been exhausted spiritually, more than physically. On Wednesday I received an email from a friend of mine telling me, "I pray that God shows you the faces of the girls when you run." Today I will hear their voices, cheering me on as I run by the spectators lining the streets. Today I will see their hands, as they pass me water at the refreshment stations. Today I will see their feet, as they run before, beside, and behind me keeping my path clear from any obstructions. Yes, today is going to be an amazing day I think as I start my run . . .
I first heard about NewSong and the work that is done rescuing and rehabilitating these girls in Cambodia about 4 years ago. I decided to run a marathon as a fundraiser for the girls. I picked the full marathon not because I thought I would raise more funds, but as any survivor of abuse knows, the road to recovery is a long, hard process.
I thought that in a strange way training, and participating in such a hard, grueling event may give me a small sense of the journey that these girls must take to become whole again; and make me a more efficient intercessor for them.
God answered my friend's prayer - I saw many incredible pictures of the
NewSong girls on the day of the race, these in themselves are enough of a
reward for all the training I did. I would encourage anyone who does not think
they have anything to offer to think again. I would say the talent I used was
that I have a very strong will, (my wife says I am stubborn.) Whatever you give
to God He will multiply 100 times.
Update: Larry ran the Mississauga Marathon again in 2010! He beat his goal time of 3 hours 31 minutes and ran the marathon in 3 hours 19 minutes! Read the new article here.
Partnering as a Church:
Mississauga Chinese Alliance Church where I now attend was celebrating its 20th anniversary. In the midst of celebrating God's faithfulness to my church, our pastor invited the congregation to participate in compassion giving to our chosen charities. Without a single doubt, I nominated Ratanak International as one of the 3 charities to receive the compassion donation. Nervous as I was waiting for the nomination result, Ratanak was picked amongst the other 2. On the anniversary Sunday, 700+ congregants were looking at the face of Sung on the big screen, along with a brief description of what Ratanak is now heavily involved with in Cambodia. With the song "God of this City" playing in the background, I witnessed people putting their monies and cheques in the offering envelopes. As the ushers prayed over the monies, snapshots of images were reeling in my mind with the individual names of girls like Sung and the other boys and girls I had come to know and learn of through Ratanak.
We raised over $3,000 for Ratanak. Along with that, we even earned an opportunity to invite Lisa Cheong to come to my church to share God's heart for the Cambodian children. What God has started not too long ago is taking serious form and shape in my heart. This is only the beginning of His greater plan in me and my church to stir more hearts to be broken for the atrocities the Cambodian children are facing. I am forever humbled to have experienced that when we are leaping by faith in the dark, we are in fact leaping into His glorious light. All glory and honour to our LORD God!
Hi, I'm Julie from "Project Pulse: Cambodia" that took place at Young Nak Korean Presbyterian Church of Toronto in late May. First of all, I wanted to thank you [Lisa Toronto Ratanak Rep.] for coming and speaking to us. Your message truly left a lasting impact on the congregation. We really appreciate it.
Project Pulse is an annual praise & prayer night event that takes place in our church. The name is given to remind us to tune our heart with the heart of God- caring for the injustices in the world, and praying for "the least of these".
Project Pulse was established and is run by youth who strive to reach out to other youth. Rarely do teenagers have the opportunity to physically go out into the mission field, so our hope is to increase knowledge and ambition regarding injustice in the world, while in our own city. Every year we focus on different issues/areas of the world. This year, God has planted in our heart a passion for Cambodia.
Through the praise, sermon, and prayer, the congregation developed a heart for Cambodia. Our hearts broke to find that youth our age (or younger) half away across the globe are sold into prostitution, while we live in the world of luxury and security.
As we prayed, God worked miracles through this even - the answered one of our prayers within a week by rescuing two girls who were sold into prostitution, and raised over $300 for Ratanak International. God reassured us that he can work through youth to bring changes and healing in others, and in the world.
It is our deepest hope and prayer to leave a lasting impact on all those who
came, so that we can continue to pray for the least of these and wait for God
to do amazing things.
We would love to provide you with helpful information as you consider
planning a fundraising event. In addition to the documents listed below, we can
also send you brochures, newsletters, bulletin inserts, return envelopes and
donation slips upon request. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
with your questions and requests.