Hope for Cambodia

Posted at: 11/03/2013 10:54 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

Hope for Cambodia
Hope for Cambodia

(ABC 6 News) -- A local woman is doing what she can to help girls in Cambodia receive an education and stay out of the sex trafficking industry.

The “Creating Hope 4 Cambodia” fundraiser was held in Rochester today. We sat down with the organizer - a local mom - who describes her experience in Cambodia as heartbreaking.

"It was hard for us to imagine that a parent would be so desperate for money that they would sell their daughter, it happens every day,” said Marti Ogren, fundraiser organizer.

Marti Ogren traveled to Cambodia twice in recent years.

"To see little kids the same age as my grandchildren, with no future, that is what gripped me,” said Ogren.

Marti says she couldn't just sit by and do nothing, so she reached out to missionaries in Cambodia, “They said the best thing that you can do from this side of the globe is to raise money to keep the kids in school because an uneducated girl who lives in poverty would be preyed upon by traffickers,” said Ogren.

So Marti organized "Creating Hope 4 Cambodia", an annual craft sale to raise funds for education scholarships. Over the past four years, they've raised enough money to send twenty kids to school.

A full house Sunday afternoon pointed to a yet again successful fundraiser this year.

"It's right before Christmas, so I always like to do my Christmas shopping,” said shopper Hilary Penz.

Hilary Penz grew up with five adopted siblings and so contributing to a cause like this is important to her.

"Just to know that there's girls similar to what my sister's their lives may have looked like that we can help empower today by purchasing coffee, necklaces or mittens is just great,” said Penz.

Because as Marti Ogren says it, the more money raised, the more lives being saved.

"If we can save one girl from a life in a brothel it's worth it,” said Ogren.

Just last year the fundraiser brought in about $6,500 and they hope to increase that number each year.