Merlin Clarke, Owner and Head of Happenings at Dogeared, and his daughter, Grace, recently took a give-back trip to Cambodia to spend time at Hope for Justice, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and slavery among young women around the world.
Sightseeing near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.
Their journey began before this trip was even planned—70% of Dogeared employees are currently supporting Hope for Justice by personally providing monthly donations that are matched by Dogeared. This sponsorship has completely funded 2 of the newest girls to the program and provides them full access to therapy, education, medical care and more.
Receiving blessings bracelets after visiting the Temple at Angkor Wat.
Our travel diary: My daughter had the week off from school and wanted to go somewhere and do something good. It makes me proud as a father that she wants to do more. As part of our commitment as a certified B-Corporation and the community at large, Dogeared employees participate in charitable services through investment and volunteer work. Hope for Justice is one of those foundations, and I was compelled to visit them and see the amazing things that they’re doing for these young women.
Working directly with the girls was incredibly rewarding, but also the most difficult part of our trip. Our goal was to share some love, joy, fun and build connections with these inspiring young women.
Merlin was moved when one of the girls talked about their visit:
“This week was very special to me. I wish we could do this all the time with different projects. It would be so fun! My favorite thing this week was drawing and painting pictures. I painted birds and a house… the house I will live in one day. It’s so pretty!”
Despite the language barrier, it really felt like we were able to communicate with the girls on an emotional level . We also had the opportunity to visit a non-profit sustainable jewelry company, Penh Lenh (meaning ‘whole and complete’). The company works with the girls as therapy to provide a valuable skill they can take out into the world. There’s so much opportunity for Dogeared to train, help and mentor this business as we continue our partnership with Hope for Justice. It’s such a natural fit for us and we’re excited for what’s to come.
After returning, Merlin and Dogeared were compelled to do even more. Dogeared has decided to sponsor the school’s Kamir (language) teacher for an entire year so that he can continue working with the girls on communication skills. We always believe good things happen when people are able to be courageous and help one another.
For more information about Hope For Justice and how you can get involved click here.