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October 07, 2009

Journeys Within Reaches Out to Help Typhoon Victims

In Cambodia's Taksen Tboung village, children play in floodwater that may well be contaminated.
Photo: JWOC

by Brook Wilkinson

Southeast Asia and the South Pacific just can't catch a break. First it was earthquakes, which wreaked havoc in Indonesia--spawning mudslides and killing hundreds--and caused a tsunami in the Samoas that took many more lives. Then Typhoon Ketsana rolled over the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia, leaving destruction in its path and more than 360 dead.

To say that the news out of this part of the world is not good would be an understatement. But one small travel company on the ground in Cambodia has already been able to make a difference. It is Journeys Within, a tour operator and B&B in Siem Reap. The company's nonprofit arm, Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), works under the motto "See a Problem, Solve a Problem." And see one they did. Ketsana had left many nearby communities underwater. But since the devastation was arguably worse elsewhere, it would be a while before major aid organizations showed up in these small villages.

So JWOC took up the cause.

They assessed the situation in Taksen Tboung and Veal villages, and found that clean drinking water was in dire need. Beyond that, mosquito nets are needed since the standing water will breed mosquitoes, as well as hygiene materials to prevent sickness lurking in the flood water. So far, JWOC has distributed more than 5,000 gallons of clean water, plus nets and hygiene kits for over 600 households.

These efforts wouldn't be possible without the help of travelers who give to JWOC. Whether or not you've traveled through Southeast Asia with Journeys Within, your donation would be greatly appreciated.

Further reading:
* Journeys Within: A different perspective on hotel deals
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference


Thanks Brook! It is amazing to see our scholarship students knee-high in water helping out their community and the appreciation from the people receiving the supplies is, as always, heartwarming. Luckily the water is starting to recede, but there is still a lot of cleanup needed and we appreciate all the support we have received so far!

Kudos to you all for stepping up. And--I can say from firsthand experience--those scholarship students are amazing. They're the future of Cambodia!

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