While the July 1997 political unrest frightened multinational corporate investors, the factional fighting didn’t scare a US couple from moving to Cambodia.
Reverend Amelia Stinson-Wesley, a United Methodist minister, first came to Cambodia in July 1997, along with her husband, Reverend Tom Stinson-Wesley, who also is a United Methodist minister.
They then moved to Sydney, Australia and eventually to the US state of North Carolina, where he pastors a church. She’s kept coming back for visits, most recently in August.
On her last visit, Stinson-Wesley donated $300 to The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign on behalf of the organization she leads, World Connections for Women.
Stinson-Wesley said she decided to move to Cambodia because a friend of hers had strongly urged her to bring her talents and her message of non-violence here. “We just moved. We came here to live,” she said.
While the job market for foreigners dried up in July 1997, the Stinson-Wesleys kept busy volunteering, she with Nanda Pok’s Women for Prosperity, and he with Pok Than’s Center for Social Development, which is now headed by Chea Vannath.
Stinson-Wesley said the Mosquito Net Campaign caught her attention when it debuted in 1997, and she has been an ardent supporter of it since then.
“We like its simple message, ‘Save three lives for $5.’ It’s a neat idea,” Stinson-Wesley said. “Every time I speak about Southeast Asia, I bring it up. I’ve preached about it.”
The Mosquito Net Campaign is among several causes supported by World Connections for Women, which is based in Morganton, North Carolina.
The group sponsors a rural health-care clinic in Jamkhed, India, which is about a day’s drive from Bombay. And it sells handicrafts by women and land-mine victims from Laos and Cambodia.
While the group’s main focus is the prevention of violence against women and children, it also offers tours to religious sites, including Chartres Cathedral in France in early 2000. Future trips are being planned to Angkor Wat, Ephesus in Turkey and Stonehenge in England.
Uluru in Australia.