Cambodian orphans visit Hawaii

Rob Hail
Rob Hail
Chanthy Pon
Chanthy Pon

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - It is a bond that stretched thousands of miles, kept strong by the internet.

Between parents full of love in Hawaii, and children in Cambodia needing their support. But finally, these two groups get a chance to meet one another here in the islands.

The children are here to share traditional Khmer dance and music from their home of Cambodia.

"The dances and the stories the dancers tell, are of Cambodia, its beautiful and ancient history," said Rob Hail, an organizer with Email Foster Parents International.

But these performers are also here to share their story of their country's darker side. They are orphans, in a land ravaged by war and famine, left with next to nothing.

"There is very little hope for the kids who don't have an opportunity for education. And not have the love and encouragement that someone else can give them," added Hail.

But at their orphanage, families across the world have reached out, thru the internet. Giving money so these children can get an education.

And for those without parents, providing emotional support.

Now, some of these Hawaii email foster parents and children who have been in contact with each other for years, finally, get a chance to reach out and hold one another.

"I've waited for 3 years to meet Tola my foster child. It was the most wonderful feeling to see her and hold her in my arms," said Patty Lee, of Maunawili.

"I don't know how to say it , my heart is full of the meaning of love. It is really beautiful and wonderful for me," said Chanthy Pon, from Cambodia.

The children will spend two weeks with their email foster families, getting a taste of the islands, learning what Hawaii kids their age are doing and performing traditional cambodian music and dance.

Along with cultural exchanges and dance performances with students at nearly a half dozen hawaii schools, the Cambodian orphans will also hold a fundraising performance for their orphanage on September 13th at Mamiya Theatre. For more information on the Email Foster Parents Organization or the children's fundraising performance call 545-3676.