A Tayside teenager is set to take a tremendous leap of faith when she sets out for a country once run by one of the worst dictators the world has ever seen.
During the regime of Pol Pot, Cambodia was the scene of a huge genocide programme which killed between 1.5-3 million people.
On Sunday, 18-year-old Mya McDowall, a member of Perth Church of the Nazarene, will leave the comfort of her home and stable family life to spend six months working with under-privileged children in Poipet which lies on the Cambodia-Thailand border.
She is going there to work with The Evangelical Alliance Relief (Tear) Fund.
Mya said: “I will be working in the Safe Haven School with children who are the subject of interest from child traffickers.
“I will also be teaching English and maths.
“The environment is very basic and it will be very much school on a mat as lessons will be conducted with the children sitting on a mat.
“I will also be doing Sunday school work.
“It will be a pretty spartan existence but I know what is before me and I am looking forward to what will be a challenging and rewarding time.”
The McDowall family are no strangers to mission work as Mya’s older sister Ellis has previously been away on a mission in South Africa.
Mya had to do her own fundraising for her Cambodia trip and has managed to raise £4,800. That included the £400 she raised by taking part in a skydive at Strathallan airfield.
Jumping out of a plane is scary and the six months are a trip into the unknown.
Mya and James Clarkson who is headed to Romania, received a warm send-off from the church congregation.
The area Mya is going to is well known for trafficking and gambling.
The Cambodian Hope Organisation, a partner of Tear Fund, brings hope to local communities and helps to facilitate sustainable change.
Its mission is to empower families to generate an income, helping them to become independent.
In this way the community lifts itself out of poverty and is equipped for their future.
“We also aim to equip and empower the church to strengthen the quality of life in poor rural areas.”