New York, USa
My name is Albert Liu and I’m a part of the New York chapter of TASSEL. I first joined TASSEL two years ago through my friend Derek Chiang, who was recruiting new members at the time. I’m so glad that I went to that first orientation meeting because since then, TASSEL made a huge impact on my life, and I’m so happy to be able to serve with such a great family.
This summer was my second time in Cambodia and it was so awesome to be able to see all the teachers and the students in person again. Everytime I’m with the Khmer teachers, I’m reminded of what TASSEL really represents and what true compassion is. The Khmer teachers are so selfless and really live up to the name that Joji gives them: superheroes. All of the TASSEL volunteers including me are always so inspired and amazed by how much the teachers value and prioritize their students above themselves. During the family visits, I saw how much compassion that teachers had for all of their neighbors, not just to the students but to everyone in the village. I learned that many of the teachers would make regular visits to families in desperate situations to check up on how they were doing, buy them food if they hadn’t had food to eat, and find the best ways to help them. Being with the Khmer teachers and Joji in the summer helped me to realize the meaning of TASSEL and compassion.
One of the reasons why the summer trips are so great is that we TASSEL volunteers get to develop a close bond with the students. Teaching the students in person allows us to not only teach them English more effectively, but to also teach them to be kind to each other. I learned while on the summer trips that all of the students really look up to the volunteer teachers. This made me realize that I have to be a positive role model to my students and help them make good choices in life.
This summer, was very special for my family and I since God allowed us to cross paths with the Chim family. During one of the family visits, we visited the Chim family. The father of the family had one of his legs blown away by a landmine incident. The oldest of the brothers went to Thailand in search of employment only to find himself in a construction accident that left him with a head injury. The second oldest brother also went out to find work in Thailand but found himself with a corrupt factory job that forced him to hide drugs in food cans. After their experiences, both returned home with even less money than they started out with. With the family facing eviction from their home, the mother borrowed lots of money to try to keep the house and pay for food. With huge amounts of debt, the youngest son, Daruth and the second son Dara were both at risk of dropping out of school to help their parents make enough money. This family went through so many hardships and were taken advantage of in so many instances of their lives. As I listened to their story, my heart ached for them and I felt such a burning desire to help them out somehow. I learned that the loving people in the Kardia church had been sponsoring families for a long time, and I wondered if God was calling me to do the same. After, long discussions with my family and Joji, we decided that we would help the Chim family pay off their debt and sponsor the family for the next few years. This summer has been especially dear to me because my family and I met the Chim family and are now able to help them overcome their hardships.
If I were to describe TASSEL in one word, it would be compassion. TASSEL transforms the lives of everyone involved in it. TASSEL brings hope to the young generation in Cambodia, giving them an education that they can use to help their country. It also teaches the young generation to be kind and to love other people. TASSEL helped me, countless volunteers all around the world, Khmer teachers, villagers, and students learn how to serve each other with love and we are all so grateful for TASSEL.