Written by Vanessa Santilli on May 20 on GlobalNews.ca (branded content)
Although television personality Rick Campanelli has been travelling as a World Vision Canada ambassador since 1997, seeing the poor living conditions for children in developing countries still hits him hard.
“You see kids up at 11 o’clock at night walking the streets and peddling goods just to make a little bit of cash,” says Campanelli, a father of two.
Campanelli travelled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as part of his most recent World Vision trip in February.
“The first couple days we visited a trauma recovery centre for young girls that were forced into the sex trafficking world.”
Although incredibly sad, he says it was uplifting to see the home World Vision had set up for the rescued girls. “They were teaching them all sorts of trades, there were a lot of counselors who were helping them and a lot of social activities.”
One of the most difficult parts of the trip was visiting a brick factory where young children work, he says.
“It was quite hot that day and the kids were sweating, lugging these bricks around,” he says. “They’re dealing with this equipment that looked very dangerous where you could easily lose an arm or a leg if you got too close.”
“It was bizarre to observe,” he adds.
During this time in Cambodia, one of the highlights was visiting World Vision’s night program for street kids.
“The day we were there it was all about hygiene — so washing hands, brushing teeth, cleaning their ears and different things like that our kids take for granted over here.”
And while parents in North America have options for bettering their financial situation, most parents in Cambodia aren’t so fortunate.
“The parents to these kids over there are doing all that they can do,” says Campanelli. “They’re breaking their backs, they’re working as much as they can work and it’s still not good enough to provide for their families.”
From all his travels with World Vision, he’s seen that help is still greatly needed—but it doesn’t take a lot of money to get involved to better the lives of children around the world, he adds.
“We get up in the morning, we go to work, we spend $6 on a cup of coffee,” says Campanelli. “You could put those $6 into the life of a child in a country like Cambodia and you wouldn’t even know it’s gone from your pocket.”
To sponsor a child in any of the 51 countries where World Vision Canada works, it costs $39 per month, which includes essentials such as access to safe, clean water, nutritious food, healthcare and improved education.
“Every time I go on a World Vision trip I do see that stuff is getting done,” he says. “Kids are being sponsored, they’re going to school, they’re getting school supplies and they’re getting the medical supplies that are needed for them and their families.”