When Sak Saum met Malise, she was 21 years old, orphaned, and in debt bondage at a local garment factory. As an orphan, she felt pressured to help provide for her siblings.
When Malise’s brother pushed her to take out a loan to finance his business, she agreed. Once the garment factory held a debt against her, the interest skyrocketed, making it impossible for her to leave. Around the same time, her siblings were also interested in the possibility of her marrying a local boy (Sadly, this is often the way marriages are arranged in Cambodia — as a business contract and nothing more). The boy’s family, however, had no interest, citing Malise’s lack of skill, money and value.
Sak Saum paid Malise’s debt to the factory and set her free. In fact, Malise often describes herself as a bird set free from a cage. How awesome!
Recently the family of the boy Malise’s siblings were trying to arrange Malise to marry came to Malise. They told her they see that she has skill and a good job. They were now interested in the benefit she could bring to the family through marriage. Malise responded, “I was just as valuable then as I am now. I am not interested.”
Yes! That is the truth and the power of a changed life in action.
Leading others to hope…
Malise is now leading the Sak Saum Freedom Facility. When we asked Malise how Sak Saum has changed her life, she answered, “Before I was angry. I didn’t trust anyone and only trusted myself. Now I have love from people and can open my heart to others. I have learned to forgive and am no longer angry. I want to give more than I want to take.”
Malise is excited to help bring skills and empowerment to the Saang community. As she said, “I am excited to love others with God’s love. When Sak Saum works together and loves each other, the people will see God and want to know Him.”