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I Am Who I Am: My 25 Year Journey with the Poorest in Cambodia.

I Am Who I Am: My 25 Year Journey with the Poorest in Cambodia. - Janne Ritskes

I Am Who I Am: My 25 Year Journey with the Poorest in Cambodia.


Janne Ritskes had a dream, to help Cambodian people find their way out of poverty. After discovering the terrible genocide in Cambodia caused by the brutality of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime Janne set out with all her savings to do what she could to alleviate the suffering of the Cambodian people. In 1994 Janne traveled to Cambodia with the support of friends and family as she put herself in harms way for people she had never met, half a world away. Her experiences with NGOs in Asia and Africa helped Janne to develop her own unique community development approach. Janne's approach was not one of just giving assistance but one of teaching the people she worked with. With her approach she assisted Cambodians to regain their dignity and self-respect. Janne's legacy is the 4.7 million Cambodians she helped out of poverty through savings programs, goal setting and cottage industry. Janne realized that the people she was working with had been terrorized. She recognized two guiding principles, "Everybody is worthy. Bringing out the best." Janne's question was "How do you institute a program that will allow them to start dreaming again? Start believing in themselves, start working for themselves?" With that goal in mind Janne worked with the Cambodian people so that she could sleep at night. She said, "You know whether you have done good or not. If you have done good you will sleep." In her memoir Janne shares her journey of starting the NGO Tabitha and Nokor Tep Foundation, the highs of success and lows of disappointment, the challenges of teaching a new way of doing, the mistakes and miracles. Tabitha is run by Janne herself and her Khmer staff and she shares the poignant moments of working with them and the adoption of her Cambodian daughter, Miriam.
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Janne Ritskes had a dream, to help Cambodian people find their way out of poverty. After discovering the terrible genocide in Cambodia caused by the brutality of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime Janne set out with all her savings to do what she could to alleviate the suffering of the Cambodian people. In 1994 Janne traveled to Cambodia with the support of friends and family as she put herself in harms way for people she had never met, half a world away. Her experiences with NGOs in Asia and Africa helped Janne to develop her own unique community development approach. Janne's approach was not one of just giving assistance but one of teaching the people she worked with. With her approach she assisted Cambodians to regain their dignity and self-respect. Janne's legacy is the 4.7 million Cambodians she helped out of poverty through savings programs, goal setting and cottage industry. Janne realized that the people she was working with had been terrorized. She recognized two guiding principles, "Everybody is worthy. Bringing out the best." Janne's question was "How do you institute a program that will allow them to start dreaming again? Start believing in themselves, start working for themselves?" With that goal in mind Janne worked with the Cambodian people so that she could sleep at night. She said, "You know whether you have done good or not. If you have done good you will sleep." In her memoir Janne shares her journey of starting the NGO Tabitha and Nokor Tep Foundation, the highs of success and lows of disappointment, the challenges of teaching a new way of doing, the mistakes and miracles. Tabitha is run by Janne herself and her Khmer staff and she shares the poignant moments of working with them and the adoption of her Cambodian daughter, Miriam.
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