Staff Corner: Documentaries Worth Watching

HalftheSkyHave you seen any documentaries lately that spoke to you? At CGI, we love documentaries because they are REAL. Real life for real people facing real struggles…that often stirs something very real inside of us.


We’ve compiled a list of the ones that have opened our eyes further to the plight of the developing world and the vulnerable, inspiring us to act on the injustices we see.



Worth Watching:

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls

Blood Brother


Live 58

Half the Sky

Girl Rising

Which documentaries have inspired YOU? We’d love to hear.


The Truth About the Garment Industry

Photo Credit: Heng Chivoan

Photo Credit: Heng Chivoan

Why does fair trade matter in the garment industry?

Try searching “garment protest” on the Phnom Penh Post, the Cambodian capital’s newspaper.

You’ll find articles entitled things like this: Glue fumes cause mass workplace faintings (August 2013), Strike violence erupts (January 2014), and even, Two monks hauled in for doing blessing on striking workers (January 2013), and this is just in Cambodia.

A staggering number of people worldwide are living on less than $1.25 per day, working in unhealthy environments and for unreasonable hours. It’s not an exaggeration that their lives are at risk—these garment factories have collapsed, the fumes from the products making employees sick. Then, when the workers push for change, asking for reasonable wages, they are sometimes literally beaten back by the Cambodian government, military officials and police.

Why should we care? Because we make the consumer market that drives these low wages that the workers protest. Our need and desire to see low prices on clothing continues to keep these workers in factories that have no concern for their well-being. So often, we unknowingly buy from retailers that keep these workers under their thumbs, playing a naive but not altogether innocent role in the problem.

What can you do? Be a knowledgeable consumer, know where your products are made and support fair trade and local operations. It may cost you a little more, but at least it’s not costing a life half a world away.


(By the way, we know a great place to shop, and the employees are paid four times the poverty level in Cambodia)

Shop Now

Not Just Clothes

Kien Svay Kids in their new gym clothes

Kien Svay Kids in their new gym clothes

Last week, the children in our Kien Svay Kids program (part of CGI Kids) received new gym clothes. And here they are, grinning from ear to ear in their new outfits!

This photo warms our hearts because its a picture of more than just new clothes. It’s new opportunities and hope and excitement. It’s evidence of forward steps. So many of these children are trapped in a heartbreaking cycle of poverty and are gaining skills to help break free someday. We have already seen huge progress in their academic performances just since entering Kien Svay Kids, and we know its just the beginning!

Would you consider becoming a monthly supporter of CGI, and programs like these that help protect the vulnerable?

Kein Svay Kids

Kein Svay Kids at their recent Christmas party!

Kein Svay Kids at their recent Christmas party!

Through extensive traveling to Cambodia over the years, CGI has had the opportunity to see all the country has to offer, and also all that it lacks. While we love working with women and helping them to grow and support themselves, we’ve also developed a heart for the many children we see on a daily basis as we travel. Read more

Imagine. Then Act!

Imagine never feeling safe.  Imagine never having that place where you totally relax and feel completely secure.  For most of us, thankfully, this is merely a mental exercise.  But for many impoverished girls and women in Cambodia, it’s a daily reality.

Last summer, my daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Cambodia with CGI and a group from Grace Church.  The stories from that trip are many and my observations are probably similar to most others. Yes, I was appalled at the pervasiveness of human trafficking.  Yes, I was overwhelmed by the extreme and rampant poverty, and experiencing that poverty first hand was truly indescribable. However, after being home for several months and reflecting on my time there, one thing made a lasting impression: the total absence of a safe environment.

Particularly when you’re a child, you should have that “safe place”. Unfortunately, the children of Cambodia don’t have such a safe place and too frequently don’t have people to protect them.  It is so difficult to convey in words their living conditions.  Their homes would not qualify as such by our standards.  Their walls are made from salvaged pieces of wood, metal, and cloth that have been pieced together. There is no security or sense of safety.  Generally, anyone at any time has access to these children.  Add to this the violence and criminal activity that pervades these poverty-stricken areas and you start to get a feel for the world they live in.

The question becomes – what can we do? Most of us were fortunate enough to be born in the United States where we have safety nets to assist those in poverty, an imperfect but great legal system, and a culture that arguably supports the family.  These girls and women were not.  CGI promotes change in the best possible way.  It empowers the girls and women through training, education, and spiritual development.  I met these girls and women, and saw the real difference CGI has made in their lives. The women in CGI’s programs are coming to realize that they have the ability to control their lives and that they are special and valued.

So…. NOW imagine. Imagine the differences that could be made in so many lives if we all made it a priority to assist these girls and women in whatever ways God may lead us.  The possibilities, like His love and grace, are limitless.

Julie and her daughter with Tavi in Cambodia

Julie and her daughter with Tavi in Cambodia

By Julie Payne

Imprint Project Kicks Off!

Learning to sew on first day of Imprint Project

Learning to sew on first day of Imprint Project

This week kicks off the Imprint Project! We are so excited about this new program, for so many reasons.

The Imprint Project is new, but the concept is based off one of CGI’s original programs called CGI Daughters. In this program, formerly-trafficked and at-risk girls in Cambodia learned sewing skills and practical life skills while living in a type of “safe house.”

The Imprint Project is a bit different. We wanted a more holistic approach, one that includes contact with the families of each participant. One of the biggest challenges to overcoming the pull toward the sex industry is making sure young girls aren’t feeling pressure from their families to earn quick money. The Imprint Project will allow more involvement in the day-to-day circumstances of participants’ families by employing social workers to check in. This will build trust between CGI and the families of each girl in our program, giving them greater support and chances for success. All of the girls in the current—and very first—class of the Imprint Project are formerly trafficked.

A lot of hard work has gone into developing the curriculum. Like CGI Daughters, the Imprint Project will teach sewing skills and the girls will produce the Imprint Collection, which is a clothing line you can purchase through The program is also intensely mentor-based, with focus on spiritual formation and practical life skills. We believe that hope and freedom come not just from vocational skills, but by knowing how to make good choices in life and ultimately, by knowing Jesus.

Please pray with us for the Imprint Project and this first group of girls who are part of it. May God continue to give opportunities to reach into the hearts and lives of those with a dark past.

By Caroline Mosey

(So Much) More than a Fashion Statement

My name is Lindsey Green, and I am the intern for CGI working under the lovely Kristen Baynai and Whitney Vance. I get to assist with CGI events and connect with byTavi and Imprint reps. I’m also the assistant manager at JenDaisy boutique in Greenwood, where Friday, October 25th we will launch the Imprint clothing line in our boutique!


Jenny Russell (JenDaisy owner) and our staff are excited to introduce an affordable and stylish fair trade clothing line to JenDaisy customers. We strongly believe in the mission CGI has to empower the poor in Cambodia. Each article of clothing in this line shares a story of restoration and hope that will serve as a conversation-starter to raise awareness on extreme poverty and human trafficking.


I was able to travel to Cambodia four years ago where I met the beautiful ladies and talented seamstresses in CGI’s programs. For four years now they have held a special place in my heart, and I would have never imagined the opportunities I would have to share their stories. Even though I am thousands of miles away from Cambodia, CGI has kept me connected to these women. Having this line at JenDaisy will impact families in Cambodia and I am so thankful for that, but these women have truly impacted me greatly as well. I feel blessed to be a part of the Imprint launch and combine my passion for these women and fashion into one big picture.









By Lindsey Green

Countdown to CGI Day of Prayer!

The countdown is on for CGI’s Day of Prayer next Thursday, October 17! (If you missed the details, you can catch up here.)

We’re glad to see so many of you have already signed up to pray for a 15 minute block of time. We’d love to get every 15 minute slot filled–even with several people in each spot–so if you have 15 minutes available and a heart for the ministry of CGI, please join us!

The Day of Prayer comes at a good time. After 5 years in operation, CGI is in a place to pause and look back at God’s faithfulness. From the byTavi program to the Culinary Training School to the new Imprint Project, he has blessed the trajectory of CGI and used it to touch and change lives. We are also in a place where we are looking ahead, and anxious to follow where he leads.

Prayer is the best tool we have. We have the ability to petition the God of the Universe, and that’s exactly what we want to do on October 17. We want to intercede on behalf of the poor and the marginalized in Cambodia, the families that need to know there’s a Savior who came –and is still coming–for them, for those who work so hard to lift others out of poverty, and for the alignment of CGI’s vision with God’s. Prayer is critical every day, but we hope you’ll set aside some time next Thursday to pray with us in a unified effort.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14

Sign up to pray!


24 Hours of Prayer

October 17 is a day set aside by the UN to focus the world’s attention on the plight of the poor. The UN deemed it the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and here at CGI, we thought it would be a great idea to merge prayer for our ministry with a day that calls attention to those we seek to serve: victims of poverty.

Prayer is a very powerful tool against oppression. CGI’s programs are designed to give opportunities that lift the poor out of their desperate situations, but prayer is the true catalyst for the miraculous changes we see. Our efforts can only go so far; our Creator is the one who breathes life into our work and gives it meaning.

Our vision for October 17 is to set aside 24 hours of focused prayer for CGI, praying for the programs, participants and staff. The first half of the day, prayer will take place in Cambodia and the second half will take place in the US. Below is a CGI Prayer Guide of specific needs you can pray for.  It’s our hope that it will be a powerful day of prayer that results in “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.”

Mark your calendars for October 17 and join us as we pray around the clock and around the world for CGI!

Sign up for 15-minute time slots (take as many slots as you want!) here> [mt_button url=”” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank” icon=””] Choose Your Time Slot [/mt_button]


[mt_highlight] PRAY [/mt_highlight][mt_one_fourth]

[mt_calloutbox] byTavi [/mt_calloutbox][/mt_one_fourth] [mt_three_fourth_last]for all the women who participate in the byTavi program.
for Nary, Mouy, and Sreymao, Mala, and Sokchea who administrate the program and lead the byTavi women.
for the families of the byTavi women.
that all the women of the byTavi program might have the opportunity to know Christ.
for the protection and expansion of the byTavi program as we look toward 2014.[/mt_three_fourth_last]
[mt_highlight] PRAY[/mt_highlight][mt_one_fourth]

[mt_calloutbox] Imprint Project [/mt_calloutbox][/mt_one_fourth] [mt_three_fourth_last]for the 8 young women who will participate in The Imprint Project beginning in November.
for the newly formed Imprint Project Leadership Team – Vannak (Team 1 Leader/Spiritual Formation/Life Skills), Sina (Team 2 Leader/Spiritual Formation/Life Skills), Pisai (Vocational Trainer), Chantoo (Vocational Trainer), Thika (Math/Computer), and Thieara (Literacy).
for the families of the Imprint Project participants.
that all of the Imprint Project women and their parents/siblings might come to know Christ.
for the funding needed for this new program.[/mt_three_fourth_last]
[mt_highlight] PRAY[/mt_highlight][mt_one_fourth]

[mt_calloutbox] Culinary Training Center [/mt_calloutbox][/mt_one_fourth] [mt_three_fourth_last]for all the young women who are a part of the culinary training program in Battambang.
for Ryana DeArmond, Ly Phalla, Sokheoun, Makaria and Ponleu as they work together to administrate the CTC and Green Mango.
for the expansion of the culinary program as we move toward opening a second restaurant in March (Mexican!) and then the coffee shop in May.
for Derek and Hiatt Fields as they join the CGI team in Battambang.
for the success of this business model of missions.[/mt_three_fourth_last]
[mt_highlight] PRAY[/mt_highlight][mt_one_fourth]

[mt_calloutbox] CGI Overall [/mt_calloutbox][/mt_one_fourth] [mt_three_fourth_last]for Alan and Katy Beringer as they help to oversee the work of CGI in Phnom Penh.
for the CGI Cambodia Office Staff – Navy, Kimlang, Sopheany, and Sreyleak.
for the development of the CGI Kids Program both in the US and Cambodia.
for our US Staff – Nathan, Whitney, Kristen, Hali, Carrie, Nicole, Vanessa, Gary, Caroline, Jaime and Joyce.
for the volunteers without whom we could not exist.[/mt_three_fourth_last]

By Caroline Mosey

A Fantastic 5K!

Empower 5K participants in prayer before the race begins

CGI’s annual Empower 5K was Saturday, and the day could not have been better! The temperature was just cool enough, the sun was shining, and spirits were high as over 150 participants took to the trails at Eagle Creek Park!


It was truly an event for the whole family, with plenty of fun activities for kids after the race. Balloon animals, snow cones and games kept the little ones happy, and it was a great chance to be with others who share our vision. Many of the runners/walkers formed teams, and we want to give a HUGE ‘thank you’ to Heidi Nordhoff for organizing her team  of 50+ friends and family members to support CGI!


Each year draws more and more participants, and this year was our highest number yet!  It’s so encouraging to see new faces eager to make a difference in the lives of the poor, halfway around the world. Each participant played a role in not just supporting CGI’s programs, but in valuable Kingdom work. We’d love to see even more of you at next year’s event!


Thank you for making it a wonderful day!