22 In Cambodia

A Couple Cooks…Goes to Cambodia!

Photo by Stuck in Customs

We are very excited to announce something that’s been in the works for a while here at A Couple Cooks!

In one month from today, we will travel to Cambodia to work with some organizations on the front lines of making a difference in the fight against human trafficking. We are SO excited to team up with two Indianapolis-based organizations!

Center for Global Impact (CGI) – Culinary Training Center

Center for Global Impact (CGI) has started a Culinary Training Center in Battambang, Cambodia, for girls at risk of human trafficking. The Training Center and accompanying restaurant, Green Mango Café & Bakery, were started as a vision of Indy’s own Paul Vida, a culinary arts instructor at Ivy Tech Community College. The goal is to provide a vocational training program for underprivileged and at-risk girls to develop culinary, customer service, and English language skills to work in Cambodia’s growing restaurant industry.

We’re very excited to get to cook with the girls at the center – we’ll be bringing them some recipes from A Couple Cooks to make together! Once we return, we plan to publish a cookbook to benefit the Training Center!


We’ll also be working with Purchased, an organization started by a friend at our church, which opened our eyes to the issue of human trafficking. Purchased educates people on the issues of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse, and helped us make the connections to make this trip possible.

While we’re in Cambodia, we’ll visit some of Purchased’s partner organizations. We’ll also gather images and videos to capture what we see in Cambodia, and also do some blogging for Purchased about our experiences.

0112CTC Girls

Girls at the Culinary Training Center (Courtesy of CGI)

Why Cambodia?

Cambodia is a country where human trafficking is a major issue, as with several countries in South East Asia. One of the reasons is Cambodia’s troubled past — in the 1970s, about 1/3 of the population was killed under a brutal dictatorship called the Khmer Rouge. This lead to a weakened infrastructure and a very young uneducated population. In addition, women face substantial discrimination in Cambodia, and many are sold or forced into sexual exploitation.

Since we’ve learned about the issue of human trafficking, our hearts were deeply affected, and we’ve been praying about what we could do. Our first step was to start giving all ad revenue from our blog to International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights organization working to fight slavery and human trafficking all over the world.

But we were feeling called to more. Our next step is to go and see – participate in some of the great work being done, and bring back stories to let you know more.

How You Can Help

We are so grateful to you, our readers, and all your support.  We’re excited to share with you as we go through this process, and appreciate you reading and learning along with us!

We know many of you are passionate about food and about the world. If you are interested in participating in this effort, we’d be honored for you to make a donation to the Culinary Training Center through CGI. The funding is used to support the girls who attend the school.

To make a donation, click HERE. In the Additional Information section, write “Culinary Training Center – A Couple Cooks”.

Thank you so much for joining in this journey with us!


Trafficking in Cambodia – CNN
General Information on Cambodia – CGI

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  • Reply
    Bethany ~ twoOregonians
    February 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

    This is terrific, you two! Very eager to see how things unfold for you. Safe travels. (P.S. The cookbook sounds like a terrific project. How exciting!)

  • Reply
    February 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    A fantastic mission – thank you for sharing your gifts in this way and bringing awareness to your community!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

    You guys truly are inspiring. What an amazing thing for such an important cause. Sign me up for your cookbook! Cambodia is such an amazing country to visit, and it looks like it will be extra amazing for you as you step off the typical tourist spots and actually into the thick of important issues. Have a fantastic journey!

  • Reply
    Tammy D
    February 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Alex’s mom told me about this. What a wonderful thing for the two of you to do! As they say in some parts “Traveling Mercies!”

  • Reply
    February 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    how fantastic for you two – eye opening and exciting. i’m looking forward to following all your southeast adventures.

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Rosemarried
    February 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I love everything about this post. It is so inspiring that you are going on this trip, and I love that you’re using your skills and passions to help others. Also, I love what the IJM is doing and it’s so great to see that you support them. I’ll be praying for you and this trip!

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    February 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm


  • Reply
    Aunt Bev
    February 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Alex and Sonja-

    This is just incredible. What a wonderful way to share your many gifts and talents. Will be eager to stay posted!

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Kids in the Sink
    February 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Amazing! Our church has done a lot lately to educate us about human trafficking, something that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have heard of. This is such a huge problem and so many people have never even heard of it. Thank you for bringing more awareness to it and have an amazing time on your trip. Can’t wait to see and hear more about your experience!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Perazzini
    February 17, 2012 at 4:30 am

    What a great venture! I travelled to Cambodia a few years ago and it is a gorgeous, sad country filled with amazing, friendly people. I applaud you.

    • Reply
      March 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Your comment stuck in my mind going Cambodia, and coming back, I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for these words — they sum it up perfectly! :)

  • Reply
    Katy (KatySheCooks)
    February 17, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Such great news — what a fantastic opportunity! Can’t wait to hear more, and learn about how you’ll be teaching these women. (MUST get you connected with my friend Taylor before you go!)

  • Reply
    February 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    All — Thank you so much for these encouraging comments! Your support means SO much to us! Having all of you behind us is one of the things that has motivated us to take this trip — knowing that you also will be interested and in support of these things.

    Thank you SO much, and we can’t wait to share the experience with you!

  • Reply
    City Share
    February 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

    What a wonderful opportunity. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    City Nom Noms
    February 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    This is so great of you two! THANK YOU for supporting two great organizations for this cause. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Wow. What a fabulous mission! I can’t wait to follow along.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    What an amazing opportunity. And so inspirational! I can’t wait to read about your experiences!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    This is an incredible thing you’re doing! I can’t wait to hear how it goes and see your stories on here!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Cambodia is my favorite country! The people are wonderful there. Thank you for going and helping such a wonderful cause.

    • Reply
      March 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      It’s now mine too! :) When did you visit?

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I think it’s wonderful that you are doing this. I’m very interested in learning more about it. In the fall my boyfriend and I are planning to leave on a 2 year backpacking trip across Asia and Europe, and we will definitely be going to Cambodia – so I would like to learn more about these programs you are participating in and if we would be able to do the same when we are over there.

    • Reply
      March 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Oh, wow – this is awesome!! Send us an email with more details, and I can let you know how you might be able to be involved! We are so excited to hear about this :)

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