As a native Australian, ASEA® Diamond Executive Janene Babauskis had been waiting for years to join the ASEA Advancing Life Foundation on a service expedition. The foundation’s first series of expeditions were centered in faraway Mexico and Ecuador, so when she heard the group would be serving in Cambodia on their 2019 expedition, she knew this was the trip.
A Different Kind of Service Trip
The service team Janene traveled with had the honor of visiting local peoples in their homes and touring their land to help them plant gardens that would feed their children and create economic opportunities. The Cambodian people have very little in comparison to others in the world, and yet Janene noticed their continuous gratitude for every little thing “They have nothing but their smiles,” she remarked.
How Water Gives Life to Families
The team visited wells that had been previously built to see the impact Advancing Life had already made in the area. Janene was unaware that the lack of clean drinking water was such a critical issue for the people of Cambodia. The trip lit a fire under her to go back home and raise money to help more families.
She wanted to know what she could do to help others. She shared her idea with one woman who pledged to contribute $100 if Janene could get three other people to contribute the same amount. Within days they had raised $500 for one freshwater well. She continued sharing the idea on social media, and soon the Shine Bright team had enough money to help build five wells.
Once the fundraiser gained traction, people started messaging her, asking how they could get involved and donate. Some donors gave enough money for an entire well. Friends with upcoming birthdays decided to forego their gifts and donate the money to the creation of more freshwater wells.
One Fundraiser, Endless Possibilities
So far, the team’s donations have resulted in sixteen new wells for Cambodian families. When Mother’s day came around, a friend of Janene’s felt that no mother should have to worry about their child having water to drink and shared the initiative with more potential donors. Within a couple of days, the team had raised money for two more wells to donate to the families in need.
“We visited two elaborate temples during the trip which are world-famous among tourists, but I hardly remember anything about them,” says Janene, “Once I witnessed the need of those struggling, my focus was on how I could make an impact, and my mind was occupied on what my team could do when I got back home. The culture and magnificence of Cambodia are unparalleled, but it was the locals who will remain in my heart and my memory forever.”