“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”
― Ben Okri, Nigerian Poet and Novelist
Humanity gathers together around stories. Whatever the format – a book, a movie, a tale told around the fire with friends, facing the flames, backs to the darkness – we as people grow in the sharing of stories. We learn to see through the eyes of other people. We consider that the world might not be quite what we thought it was. We connect with each other, or even with things that are bigger than ourselves. Information is useful, but stories change hearts and lives.
It’s perhaps not surprising then, that our own stories can be the most precious things we have. The things we experience shape us, and give us the totality of experience that we call our lives. But because of that preciousness, our stories can also be frightening things. They are places where we are vulnerable, and we don’t always want to invite others into them, to read the lines, and read between the lines.
So whenever our clients and their families tell us that they are willing to share their stories, and let others in, so that the world can better understand what life is like for a vulnerable child in a country like Cambodia, we approach that task slowly, carefully, and with deep gratitude.
Stories of Two Generous Families
Last month, two families living in rural Cambodia agreed to speak to us on film, and talk about their experiences as foster carers and foster children with Children in Families. CIF hired a pair of videographers, Britney and Jordan Berrner, and travelled to the village where these families live to record what they had to share.
And here’s the big tease: we’re not going to tell you those stories today, because we’re going to leave that to Britney and Jordan. They will tell them more completely and with greater artistry than we can. But it was a privilege to be a part of this trip, and see how the Berrners helped these families tell their stories with dignity, in a way that made it clear how much they mattered, so we are going give you a quick “behind the scenes” glimpse.
Children and Families has a pretty great media policy. We consider our kids’ safety, health, wellbeing and dignity (and consent, obviously!) before we make any decisions about whether this is a family that we want to put out there to share their story with the wider world. This was a trip that shows how that policy is working. In this thing, our clients have been empowered to see how their experiences can make a difference in the lives of others; and you are enabled to get a little look, if only a glimmer, into someone else’s story. Hopefully in that place of connection, the world can get a little closer, and a little kinder.
So keep an eye out for CIF’s videos about these families in the coming months. And in the meantime, we hope you enjoy a few photos of our time visiting these generous families. Think of them as the cover of the book, perhaps.