Woman returns to Cambodia to give help to the poor

A DEARNE Valley woman has decided to return to help the poor in Cambodia – just weeks after she arrived back in the UK after a year-long stint in the Asiatic country.

Lynne Barnett (52), of Sprotbrough, has jetted back to the area around Siem Reap in the north of Cambodia near the Thai border.

She came back to the UK after a year away in June but went back east in July for another year.

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Lynne is using her medical skills to help communities, particularly children as young as six who have been abused and trafficked into sexual slavery.

This is her 12th visit to Cambodia where grinding poverty, decades of war and poor infrastructure wreck the lives of millions.

In a previous interview with the Dearne Valley Weekender, Lynne said that she feels God drew her to work in Cambodia.

Her work in Cambodia is entirely self-funded through donations by supporters.

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Speaking from Cambodia, Lynne said: “My work in Cambodia is on a voluntary basis alongside a non-government organisation. This is my 13th time and every visit is a rich yet challenging experience.

“During the last year I have focussed my time working with a project. We serve girls under the age of 18 years who have been rescued from child sex trafficking. My role as counselling and house manager is to help heal their terrible trauma, leading to the empowering and enabling of the girls to reach out for a positive future. This includes caring for their mental, physical and emotional well-being.

“As counsellor I have been able to provide a listening ear for the girls and staff alike.

“I offer training to the three trainee counsellors who have been employed since I suggested developing the counselling provision. I also provide training for house mothers who care for the 24 residential girl capacity we support. Both the trainees and house mothers are now demonstrating the skills I have been teaching and are now enjoying their roles with a reduced risk of burnout. We now have two beautiful counselling rooms that demonstrate how we value the girls as unique and valued members of society.”

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Lynne said that the achievements of her year had been “simple and yet immeasurable”.

She said: “Girls have felt loved, have been heard and felt safe, cared for and encouraged.

“I have had the privilege to see one girl, believed to be beyond help, actually graduate. We have united families and educated many children, treated many sexually transmitted infections, a fractured femur and are currently fighting to save a girl’s arm from amputation.

“The list is endless, but most important is the genuineness of the safe love we offer.”

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Whilst in Cambodia, Lynne has also been researching for a Master’s degree which she hopes will highlight the needs of the country.

She said she also believes there is a positive future for the people of Cambodia.

She said: “Living immersed in a society that experienced the atrocities of a holocaust and genocide 40 years ago has taught me so much and has provided me with rich research data for my Master’s thesis. The thesis is being undertaken to provide further evidence of the great need still existing in this wounded nation.

“Once the existing corruption and injustice has been addressed in Cambodia, this is a nation that will thrive with its amazing smiling humble people and great potential.”

To support Lynne’s work, contact Mr Steve Willimott or Helen Smyly at Sprotbrough Methodist Church.

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