Canada to Cambodia: How a glowing heart can change a life

Updated Jun 25, 2019
On the back of her World Vision Canada (WVC) trip to Cambodia, and the end of the 2019 Stars on Ice tour, we caught up with Canadian Figure Skater Champion and WVC Athlete Ambassador Kaitlyn Weaver about her work with the world’s most vulnerable children.
As a child sponsor, Kaitlyn’s trip to Cambodia allowed her to experience the impact of World Vision Canada’s work with sponsored children and their communities firsthand.
Personal safety and health and nutrition are major challenges faced by children all over Cambodia. If that’s not difficult enough, child labour and child trafficking are an everyday reality for more than 20,000 children who live and work on the streets of Phnom Penh.
World Vision works with communities and local organizations to promote stronger child protection laws and their implementation. We also support health centres who provide education to help families prevent and treat malnutrition through growth monitoring, food and vitamin supplements and nutritious food preparation.
During our interview, Kaitlyn discussed her involvement with WVC, her experience as a child sponsor and the impact her trip to Cambodia will have on her work for children in the future.

Watch Kaitlyn Weaver on her visit to Cambodia
WVC: Why was it important for you to go to Cambodia? 

KW: I believe in this organization and the help that it provides to people around the world. I knew it felt right to align myself with it.

First and foremost, I am a World Vision child sponsor. This role is so important to me, and one that I am very proud of. When the opportunity to become an Athlete Ambassador presented itself in 2018, I jumped at the chance. Because of my involvement, I was given able to go on a site visit to Cambodia--an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

My responsibility as an Athlete Ambassador is to share the stories of the Cambodian people, and to be able to shake their hand, share a laugh, a meal, and a tear. It strengthens my stance on partnering with World Vision and the message I will bring back home to Canada. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and I know that together, we can do something about it. 

World Vision Ambassador Kaitlyn Weaver helps feed a child who is sitting on his mother's lap.

WVC: Can you tell us about an experience from your trip to Cambodia that impacted you the most, and why? 

On my second day, my team and I visited a group for young mothers. Together with their children, we talked about their lives and about my own. They told me, firsthand, what World Vision’s work meant to them.
When it was time to pass out care packages, they had to choose whether they received toothpaste or a toothbrush. They looked at me with warm smiles—I was blindsided. It didn’t phase them to make this decision.

In that moment I thought about my frequent trips to the drug store and the aisles and aisles of hygiene products back home. I thought of how I’ve luxuriously been able to choose between spearmint or bubble gum flavour. It was in that moment that I knew. I committed to do everything in my power to help people, even in the smallest way. Every little bit makes a difference. 

A group of young children from Cambodia smile and laugh around World Vision ambassador Kaitlyn Weaver.
WVC: How would you like people to get involved with WVC? 

I don’t feel like there’s a wrong way to get involved with World Vision. I’ve been able to witness first hand that every bit counts. For me and my family, however, becoming a child sponsor was an easy choice and a very rewarding experience. I love seeing photos and letters from the children! It’s an experience that the whole family can wholeheartedly get behind.

I know people that make private donations, that volunteer, and I support each person and their involvement the same. Whether through sponsorship, donations or volunteering, together—each with our individual strengths and differences—we can make a change in the world for good. 
WVC: Is there anything else you want your fans to know?

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share my story, and I encourage all Canadians to consider their role at World Vision Canada. It’s a decision you won’t regret, and I can’t wait to hear your stories, too. Thank you and I hope you realize the positive change that you’re making in vulnerable children’s lives around the world! 
Justice requires action. Get involved today.  

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