Co-leading a team of eleven people from HumeRidge Church of Christ, Lauren made her third trip to the developing country in January.
The group spent ten days learning about Cambodia and viewing the work done by Hagar International.
While they helped with gardening and spent time with children in Hagar’s care, Lauren said the purpose of their trip wasn’t to work.
“Our job is when we come back and we can talk to people about it and get the word out about Hagar,” she said.
“When we go over there we really just have a look at their facilities and meet the kids and meet the staff.”
Hagar provides shelter, education and support to children who were the victims of slavery or abuse.
HumeRidge has been supporting the organisation for about ten years.
“Their motto is they do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to restore a broken life,” Lauren said. “They stick to it and they do a really good job with it.”
Lauren said the organisation focuses on holistic recovery for its clients.
“That includes the spiritual aspect of their life and introducing them to God.”
She said the most difficult part of the trip for most team members was seeing the reality of living in Cambodia.
“The genocide, the fact that it was only a generation ago that it happened and the brutality of that…that was really hard for people to come to terms with,” she said.
“For a lot of them, it was their first time in a third world country, seeing children begging. It was nice to go to Hagar and see the other end of the spectrum.”
“They’re being looked after and they get an education.”
Lauren’s group ate several meals with the children, played games and took part in their annual soccer match against Hagar’s children, ex-clients and staff.
As well as visiting Hagar, Lauren’s team also went to EFFM Cambodia - a school founded at a rubbish tip.
To donate to either organisation, visit www.hagarinternational.org/australia or www.effmcambodia.org/effm