Wearing Despair

Photo: Luc Forsyth for IndustriAll Global Union

Photo: Luc Forsyth for IndustriAll Global Union

Are our shopping habits hurting people on the other side of the world?

This is a question that more and more Westerners are thinking about. While most of us would never be supportive of slave-like work conditions in theory, the issue becomes blurry when it presents in the form of our clothes. We don’t sense the burden when we’re clicking through clothes online (Wow! $10 maxi dress….score!) or stocking up on school uniforms for our kids at places that won’t break the bank. In many ways, we feel that we’re being good stewards of our resources when we shop for the best prices on clothing. And yet….

The issue is complex. How are these clothes so affordable? At what cost? Often, clothes are cheap when the labor is cheap, and “the labor” is a multitude of human beings spending grueling days in garment factories. Often in SE Asia. Often in Cambodia.

We read and hear horrifying reports of workers fainting and dying in these working conditions, overextending themselves in every way to make enough money to survive and support their families. We don’t see this. It doesn’t often make headlines here in the U.S. What we see is an inbox flooded with subject lines like “Clearance Sale!” and “Spring Must-Haves!” at prices our wallets agree with. And yet…

There are stories like this. And this. What can we do with these stories? How can we stop this from happening to our brothers and sisters halfway around the world? We can shop responsibly. It isn’t as tricky as it sounds, either. As actress Ashley Judd famously declared, “I don’t want to wear someone else’s despair.” We don’t want to, either.

Consider the source of your clothes, and opt to support workers paid living wages and afforded good working conditions. Our byTavi line is the perfect place to shop, because not only are our seamstresses paid fair trade wages, they’re being cared for on a spiritual and emotional level as well.

Let’s use our dollars to lift others out of poverty rather than driving them deeper into it.


God’s Good Timing

IMG_0697Recently, Storm Chiropractic did an awesome thing: they hosted a Kids Wellness Day at their clinic and donated the proceeds to CGI Kids! What an amazing and creative way to use their business as a way to give back.

Fast forward to this week, when our Executive Director received an email from Cambodia. The email was from Seiha, the director of our Kien Svay Kids program in a very poor province in Cambodia. The children have flourished in this program and their grades in school have improved, they’ve developed greater confidence and have the opportunity to learn about Jesus. It’s a fantastic program that helps us to pour into the young Cambodian population and is a vital piece of our mission, which is to protect the vulnerable.

The letter from the director of Kien Svay Kids was an update about the children in the program, and some of their immediate needs. These needs ranged from sand to protect their facility from flooding during the upcoming rainy season, to small gifts the children will receive for doing great in school, to funding a Christmas party for the kids and their siblings and friends.

The requests totaled almost exactly the amount that Storm Chiropractic was able to donate. They were thrilled to learn their gift was able to be used to grant the requests of schoolchildren half a world away.

This was a beautiful illustration of God’s good timing. If you’ve been dreaming of a way to use your passions, skills or business to help others in need, don’t push those ideas away. Act on them! They may be the answer to someone else’s prayers.


Meet Lindsey Green!

Lindsey Green

Lindsey Green

Lindsey Green has recently become part of the CGI team! We were able to chat with her about her passions and how God is using her to battle against poverty and human trafficking. Read about Lindsey’s journey to making a difference and be inspired!

How did you first become passionate about CGI’s ministry?

Six years ago I was invited to attend a human trafficking awareness event where my friend was speaking. Her passion for human trafficking and heart for the people of Cambodia opened my eyes to the injustice happening to millions of women around the world. I could not get the stories she shared out of my head, the darkness was overwhelming and God began working in my heart to do something. I have been involved with CGI from the beginning by volunteering at events, traveling to Cambodia, interning and now working a part-time position.

What are some of the ways you get to use your gifts to help CGI?

Before starting at CGI I worked in the bridal and boutique industry where I developed a passion for fashion. I was able to learn about current trends, sizing and styling outfits. Working at CGI allows me to combine my passion for fashion and ending injustice. I hope to use these gifts to help CGI connect with retail centers and expand the byTavi and Imprint line. Upon graduating in December my degree will be in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Pre-Theology. The communications and promotional skills I have learned are useful in representing CGI at events and through daily conversation.

What’s your favorite part about your new role?

Connecting with our event hosts and volunteers. I love our product! So it has been fun to share it and the stories behind it with others and see them get equally as excited about it.Through forming these relationships I discover each person’s passion for ending injustice. It is so encouraging to work with people who are equally as passionate about this ministry.

What advice do you have for people who want to get involved, but don’t know where to start?

If you want to get involved but don’t know where to start, examine the gifts God has given you. I guarantee CGI has a way for you to use them! If you like to share stories, host your own trunk show or present to your bible study. If you have a knack for organization, become an in-office volunteer. There are many more ways to get involved. Jump in and be prepared for the journey God will take you on. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to work for CGI but God made a clear path. You just have to be willing to follow.

Heartbreaking Injustice

Photo Credit: The Guardian

Photo Credit: The Guardian

An article that appeared in The Guardian tells the heartbreaking story of a young girl in Cambodia who had her virginity sold by her mother. As a staff, we read these things and can’t help but weep for the injustice and evil that permeates this dark aspect of Cambodian culture.

To us, it seems so black-and-white. But there are complexities stacked on top of complexities, and its hard for us to grasp the desperation that exists in the sex trade.

Despite stories like this, we know that redemption is possible anywhere. God can reach into these circumstances, no matter how hopeless they may seem. Please continue to pray for the vulnerable in Cambodia and for CGI as we continue to fight for their protection.



Day of Prayer is HERE!

praygraphic Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty AND CGI’s Day of Prayer! Please join us in praying for:

-The CGI staff in Cambodia

-The CGI staff in the U.S.

-The country of Cambodia as a whole, that it would allow the love of Jesus to infiltrate the culture and that He would be known there

-The girls in all of our programs: byTavi, CTC, Imprint and cgi Kids

-That God would use CGI to help break the cycle of poverty and give each of these girls a new life in the physical sense, but that He would also speak to their hearts and they would know and run to His love.

-The future of our ministry and our listening hearts as God continues to lead


Thank you for your prayers and being a key part of CGI!


2nd Annual CGI Day of Prayer

PrayOctober 17 is a day set aside by the UN to recognize the plight of the poor worldwide. It’s called the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and last year we created a CGI day of prayer in conjunction with this important day. As a ministry that seeks to eradicate poverty in Cambodia, we want to join in this effort and we do that in one of the most effective ways we know how–through prayer.

So again this year on October 17, we want to pray. Diligently. We want to cover the entire 24 hours in focused and unified prayer for CGI and all of its facets. From the staff to the programs to the participants to the country of Cambodia as a whole, we want to ask God to glorify Himself in and through all of it. It’s a day of prayer around the clock and around the world.

Will you pray with us?

Our hope is that people will take 15 minute blocks of time to pray for CGI on October 17. You can sign up for as many 15 minute blocks as you’d like! The staff and participants in Cambodia will pray the first half of the day (while the US is still asleep!) and Stateside we will pray the second half of the day. It’s a join effort for one purpose, and we hope you’ll join in! Simply click here to sign up for a time slot.

Next week we will post a list of specific prayer requests to serve as a guide. Thank you for being a part of CGI’s Day of Prayer!


IMG_1323Cambodia’s poverty can be overwhelming.

It’s overwhelming in a very different way than America’s poverty. There are poor families in both places, and no poverty is “less legitimate” than another. But poverty in Cambodia and other third-world countries often goes beyond what most poor in developed nations have experienced. In America, for example, the bottom 10% spend about 17% of their income on the food needed to survive. In Cambodia, however, most of the population spends nearly two-thirds of their income on food to survive. This level of poverty, where the majority of income is spent on daily needs, leads to a huge lack of nearly everything else. Homes have one room, food is bought at the market daily because refrigerators are a luxury, everything requiring electricity is unplugged completely when not in use. Clothes are washed by hand, and hung in the sun to dry. Showers are taken from buckets outside the house after a long day working for just enough money to buy food the next day.

The poor in America struggle for daily needs as well, but aid and assistance programs are in place that simply don’t exist in Cambodia. The poor in Cambodia live without what even the poor in America consider basic parts of life – electricity, food, running water, and clothes. The poor in Cambodia are on their own, and the chances that they’ll be able to break that out of that cycle are incredibly slim. Children can’t go to school because they need to work so the family can eat, and without an education, they’re stuck working for that same small daily wage, selling food on the street or fruit at the market. The Cambodian poor need somewhere to turn for help and stability, so that kids can go to school and families can eat.

To me, the most striking part of Cambodian poverty isn’t the degree to which they are impoverished. It’s the seeming permanence of their circumstances. Thankfully, we have an opportunity to help lift them out of their desperate situations through the programs that CGI has created, and there can be hope and change for even the poorest of the poor.

By Alison Gayer

Bubbling Over

IMG_4621There’s nothing we love more than seeing the smiles and giggles of the precious girls in our Culinary Training Center program. Chef Ryana sent us these photos of the girls whipping up some bubble tea, a hot new menu item of the Red Chili menu!

At the Red Chili Mexican Grill in Battambang, these girls are not living in fear of tomorrow. They aren’t worried about where their next meal will come from, how they will ever find a legitimate and healthy way to earn a living, or what their future holds anymore. They’ve been empowered and encouraged to use their gifts, and the darkness is being chased away.

Thanks for being a part of these smiles!



Khmer Rouge Revisited

littleboywalkingCambodia is a beautiful country with a complex and very dark history. Recent history, actually.

In the 1970’s, the country suffered an all-out genocide at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. These leaders wanted to create an “agricultural utopia” and forced people to work in rural collectives, killing anyone who appeared to be educated or counter to their vision. It’s estimated that over a million innocent Cambodians were executed during this brief period. The effect on the country and the lives of its inhabitants is profound.

Last week, two former Khmer Rouge leaders, now in their eighties, were convicted of their crimes against humanity in a UN-backed tribunal.They were both sentenced to life in prison. Despite the painfully drawn-out and overdue trial, many survivors of the Khmer Rouge era see this as a victory and step toward justice.

This devastating era is one of the many puzzle pieces that helps us to understand the reality of modern-day Cambodia. Thank you for joining with us in our effort to bring the abundant love and compassion of Jesus to these people.


By Caroline Mosey

Finding Freedom

free-fireworks-image-11What is freedom?

Here in the States, we just celebrated the 4th of July, which represents our freedom as a country. We throw parties and shoot fireworks, celebrating this notion of being FREE.

But what if you were robbed of your freedom? What if you had no say about what happened to you and your children? No input into the direction of your life? What if you were a slave to someone or something bigger than you, and had no choice but to succumb to desperate acts to survive?

That’s a reality for an unsettling number of impoverished women in Cambodia. They choose almost nothing about their situations, and do whatever it takes to make it through another day. They often long for freedom, but don’t know where to find it.

At CGI, we throw ourselves fully into helping guide women like these toward freedom–financially, spiritually, emotionally. We show them doors they can walk through if they are willing, and provide the tools and skills they need to finally BE FREE.

Want to help? Email us at contact@centerforglobalimpact.org.