In 2007, a trip to Cambodia inspired two local women, Amy Heague and Kerrie Moran, to rally for a cause that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the world – Human Trafficking. On Saturday 21 July, the duo are launching In Her Shoes, an art exhibition telling the stories of women and girls through artworks.The exhibition is the launching pad for raising awareness and fundraising for Amy and Kerrie’s 2013 Cycle4Cambodia tour…
In Her Shoes Art Exhibition and Cycle4Cambodia Launch … why support the cause to raise awareness of Human Trafficking?
Amy: Conservative estimates are that there are over 600,000 people trafficked across international borders each year. Many of them are women and children. They are trafficked for a variety of reasons and into various situations. Many women and young girls end up working in the sex industry against their will.
I read an article called The One by Sharon Cohn from International Justice Mission, an organisation instrumental in rescuing very young girls from brothels in Phnom Penh. She wrote:
“Not only is each victim the one, but we likewise can be the one. The one called, the one listening, the one willing, the one sent to bring freedom and justice to innocent ones who are suffering. Being overwhelmed by the numbers is an indulgence the oppressed can ill afford”.
It is an issue that keeps me up at night and one that I can not shake, so it is the cause that I am investing myself into and saying,” It is not OK.”
Kerrie: I am a Rodney Copperbottom kinda girl – you know, the one from the Robots movie. His motto was “See a need, fill a need”. There are so many needs in our world and when I see a cause that involves getting children to a place of safety, I am all for it.
With Amy already passionate about this cause and my church movement having the vision for a rescue home that I could be a part of, it was easy for me to get involved. I can’t change the world, but I can make a difference, one life at a time.
Amy: When my little girl was born, I was at home watching Oprah, and she was interviewing Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, about child prostitution in Cambodia. I sat there holding my precious little girl and sobbed.
About 6 months later, I was at a conference, and they showed the same footage and announced they were going to start a rescue home for girls in Phnom Penh who had been rescued from the brothels. I knew I had to be a part of this.
The following March, I found myself ‘touring’ the poorest of the poor slums and the many brothels found there. The people and nation of Cambodia have captured my heart.
Kerrie: I have a passion for developing countries. I love the people and their hearts that embrace life with all its difficulties – and still find pleasure in ways we in the west have long forgotten.
My heart is for children, and I would go almost anywhere the opportunity arose to be involved in helping in some way. The moment I got into a tuk tuk – the open-aired carriage driven by a glorified lawn mower, something inside me felt like I was home. I cannot wait to get back there!
You’re holding an exhibition this month. Tell us about the event.
Amy: The exhibition is the launching pad for raising awareness and fundraising for our 2013 Cycle4Cambodia tour. The exhibition is called In Her Shoes and will contain works of art along the theme ‘give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world’.
We have photographs and stories of the girls from the SheRescue Home and other women who have stood up and said, “It is NOT OK”.
This exhibition is about telling the stories of women and girls through their shoes and feet. I haven’t met a woman yet who doesn’t have a favourite pair of shoes and a story that goes with them.
Shoes also have the ability to say quite a bit about the wearer and their unique story.
Manning Shoes have also provided us with some amazing shoes, that will be on display at the exhibition.
How can people get involved in the exhibition?
Amy: We are seeking submissions from local artists who would like to be involved. Artists can submit works on the theme In Her Shoes: Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world. All works will be for sale, with a percentage of the funds raised going to our fundraising efforts, so be prepared to invest not only in changing lives, but some good art.
If anyone would like more details, they can contact us via the details below.
The exhibition will be held on 21 July at Lakeside Church in Tuncurry and includes a high tea, a fashion show by a local boutique, lucky door prizes donated by local businesses, SheRescue Merchandise and of course, works of art will be for sale.
We will also be launching our Cycle4Cambodia tour.
What does the Cycle4Cambodia tour involve?
Amy: A few months ago, we were chatting about how we should do something crazy like … ride our bikes through Cambodia as a fundraiser; so we are. The awesome team at the Tuncurry Recycle Centre and The Green donated us reclaimed bikes, to kickstart our training.
The really exciting part is that we are able to take other women with us on the adventure of a lifetime. Not only will we be cycling through Cambodia, we will also be volunteering at some of the organisations we are fundraising for.
If there are any adventurous women out there who are interested in supporting the cause, they can join us on the cycle tour. Our initial tour outline and details will be announced at the In Her Shoes exhibition, so come along with your girlfriends to find out more.
Thanks Amy and Kerrie.
This story was published in issue 65 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus