One person’s ability to make a difference.

By: Elizabeth Wilson

One person can make a difference. Andrea Ross has.

Andrea moved to Cambodia seven years ago with her then fiancé Brandon Ross. After backpacking around Southeast Asia, the two decided to move to Cambodia for four months, to see if living here was possible.

“We got here in September. It was just right. Right from the start. We just knew,” Andrea explains. By January, the two had bought a house, started a business and got married. By their fifth month, they had settled in.

Andre and Brandon first created Journey’s Within, their Bed and Breakfast and touring company, but after living in Cambodia for a year in a half, they became aware of the needs of the locals and created Journey’s Within Our Community – or JWOC for short. JWOC is a nongovernmental organization that supports scholarships to University, English classes, microfinance loans, and a clean water project that has put more than wells in Cambodian villages.

As both JWOC and their bed and breakfast flourish, Andrea took on a small sewing project with a prison nearby. “They were having a problem with depression, if we could give them a vocational skill, it would help them. Give them something to do,” Andrea said. The sewing project has been a success, and now different organizations have building set up within the prison to teach women other skills like how to cut hair and how to speak English. Since her sewing project, “They have made the prison a pretty positive place,” she says, “It gives them hope.”

From starting the clean water project and a microfinance program, to sending all of the children of their employees to private school, Andrea and Brandon really are working to improve their community.

A journey that originally started as an adventure and a change of pace became a series of projects that are truly changing the lives of Cambodians in their community. Andrea has created a ripple that is really making a difference.

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