Vlok Family From Milton Keynes Prepare To Visit Their Sponsored Child in Cambodia

For Niel and Sarah Vlok and their daughters Rachel, 15, and Annabell, 12, this summer holiday will be one with a difference.

The family, from Milton Keynes,  is heading out to Cambodia to meet Sreynin, a child they sponsor through the Christian children’s charity World Vision UK.

The trip will be one of the first sponsor visits the Milton Keynes-based charity has arranged since the Covid-19 crisis meant restricted travel across the world.

World Vision works with communities in almost 100 lower-income countries to help them transform the lives of children impacted by poverty, famine, drought and other circumstances beyond their control.

When someone in the UK sponsors a child in a lower-income country, that child’s whole community benefits from improvements including access to clean water, sustainable farming, and better education. As a Christian charity, World Vision’s key objective is based on John 10 vs 10, where Jesus says he came so that all humans can experience life in abundance. 

Rachel and Annabell were inspired to sponsor a child through World Vision after seeing a promotional stand in Milton Keynes during a day out with their grandparents.

Niel and Sarah asked the girls to pick a child from somewhere culturally different to the UK.

We love travelling together as a family and learning about different cultures. We went to the World Vision website and looked through the photographs of children. Our daughters wanted a child who was between their ages.

In regular letters to Sreynin, Rachel will often put her English into Google translate asking it to change to Khmer – the official language of Cambodia.

Cambodia is on the Vlok’s five-year travel target list of locations and the trip will be a post-exam celebration for Rachel who has just finished her GCSEs.

Sarah, a qualified teacher who tutors children who are out of school has family in Hong Kong and the family have friends in Singapore.  The Vloks love travelling and as well as Hong Kong and Singapore, they have been to a variety of places, including capital cities at particular times. Paris, Berlin for the Christmas markets, and Rome at Easter.

Their trip to Cambodia will involve a visit to the capital Phnom Penh, as well as to the Phnom Kulen National Park which is famous for its lychee mountains.

But the highlight will be meeting Sreynin (pictured right)  and her family in Siem Reap. Sreynin lives in a house on stilts with fresh mangos growing on trees in the garden.

Over the years they have sponsored her, Niel notes how her letter-writing has developed as she has matured and grown in confidence. “Rather than a young child writing a couple of sentences, she writes more in-depth. She always wishes us best wishes and health, she always wants to give back in her letters,” he says.

The Vlok family are Christians who attend the Shenley Christian Fellowship – a Baptist church based in Milton Keynes. They see sponsoring a child with World Vision UK as a way of making a positive difference in the world. “You can’t save the world but you can do small things and if everyone does small things the world will be a better place,” adds Niel.

Written by: Jo Duckles         

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