This month we speak to Miriam Mueller, Head of Social Department for ICF Cambodia – one of our newest members.
Welcome to JLI Miriam! What can you tell us about ICF Cambodia?
International Christian Fellowship (ICF) was originally founded in Switzerland. Our main focus is to spread the gospel. However, after seeing the needs of the communities we serve, the founders of ICF decided they wanted to also serve people in a practical way. That is why, in 2014, we established ICF Social.
In ICF Social we focus on two main pillars: the community campus and outreach work. In Cambodia, there are few places which are safe for youth and teenagers to go. In tourist areas, children are at particularly high risk of being drawn into drugs or prostitution. As such, ICF Cambodia has created a community campus where we invite children, teenagers and families to learn and play in a safe environment, access education, and discover their God-given purpose in life.
In our outreach work, we connect with currently around 250 families on a regular basis; supporting family member suffering from abuse and neglect, but also providing prevention work such as training on healthy relationships and education awareness.
Photo Credit: ICF Cambodia
What role do you think faith actors should play in issues of social justice, human rights and community resilience?
ICF Cambodia is a Christian organisation. We believe in scripture regarding how to treat and help the poor. The Bible is very clear that we should be practical in serving the poor.
When we saw the needs of the community, we realised we could not be silent. Like every other organisation that works in these areas, we face many practical and ethical challenges in delivering the work. However, we believe that any challenge we face is worthwhile – because if you are a Christian, you cannot separate social justice from your work, no matter how big the struggle is. I personally believe that God is the ultimate healer, and this is one more reason why I believe you should combine community work with the gospel.
Photo Credit: ICF Cambodia
How did you find out about the JLI, and why did ICF Cambodia decide to join JLI as a member?
I engaged in a survey and interview by the JLI’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Hub. I asked the interviewer if she had any resources or connections where I could learn more, or get advice. I always try to look for mentoring and more information to support my work where I can. She recommended that I join the JLI community. Even the experience of the interview, where I could exchange information, was really helpful for me.
How would you like JLI to support ICF Cambodia in your work?
I hope to get support and resources on conducting monitoring, evaluations and impact measurements for projects and programmes. I find that I can get lost in the amount of data we have, and it can be challenging to pick the significant data and measure it in a smart way.
I also find it very valuable being connected with different leaders from multicultural settings, and to learn from the shared challenges we face.
In Cambodia, we still lack general resources in the local language or suitable for the local context. For example, there are hardly any resources on mental health counselling or social work to teach and train local staff. We have had to produce and translate many of the resources ourselves. So I think there could be opportunity there for us to support each other by exchanging resources.
I think a network like the JLI is a great idea for bringing people together. I enjoy going through the website and look at the different networks. I’m so grateful that people are doing this work.
Learn more about ICF Cambodia here.