About UsTransitions Cambodia, Inc. is an Oregon based 501c3 Non-Profit Public Charity organization (EIN 83-0491008) operating Transitional Living Centers (TLC) in Cambodia. Though the name is new, the team and operation have been working in Cambodia since 2004.
TCI’s TeamTransitions Cambodia, Inc. is in an unusual position for this particular field of work, due to the fact that we have a seasoned and experienced staff. Our social workers have had the rare opportunity in attending the Social Services of Cambodia (SSC) course on social work and have actively been working with clients for over a year. Provided below are brief staff overviews, with pertinent facts and skills in relation to our work.
James Pond – Founder and Executive DirectorJames has worked in Cambodia since 2004, dealing directly with the Cambodian government, international organizations, national agencies, as well as, pioneering and co-directing one of the most recognized aftercare facilities in Cambodia. As the former co-director of the Agape Restoration Center (ARC) in 2005, James comes with a unique skill set. In addition to developing ARC, James and Athena established and started the Transitional Living Center (TLC) in 2006, which remains a successful model for transitional care, which other organizations are looking to replicate. The current TLC is now under the management of Transitions Cambodia, Inc.
During James full-time living in Cambodia, he developed and was the forerunner for two significant side projects. The first was developing a working protocol for working with the Cambodian government on reintegration of trafficking victims. Many groups working with this demographic had learned to distrust the government and as a result, had isolated their involvement. Yet, in 2006, the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia had set up a formal system for organizations to follow that would create operational and legal accountability for reintegrated victims. James goal was to work with UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Affairs to develop a cooperative effort and a standing policy on reintegration. By May of 2007, this system had been developed and worked through. At present, this system is being implemented by many organizations in Cambodia.
The second side project was to develop a protocol for repatriation of Vietnamese citizens, who had been sexually trafficked and were in Cambodia. Due to a loose immigration system in Cambodia, many Vietnamese girls end up living in Cambodia without the prospect of returning to their home country. This results in little or no education, lack of communication, and no opportunities for a future.
James has a strong background in security, program development, research, social work and investigation, and can speak Khmer fluently. He is currently a member of the Cambodian community in Portland, Oregon and continuing his Khmer language studies.
Athena Pond – Founder and Co-DirectorAthena has been working with management, administration, and finance since 1993 – first working in administration, bookkeeping, payroll, and account management for a medical diagnostic center in northern California. Later, she was the bookkeeper for a church, independent sales representative, and finally she managed a start up bookstore for its first year.
This experience has made Athena a stable administrator and finance manager for Agape International Missions, since 2005. Athena had managed day to day administrative operations on the ground in Cambodia including payroll, banking, accounts payable, and budgeting. In addition, she spent countless hours working with the clients of ARC.
She also pioneered the start up of the Agape Transitional Living Center, doing program development and implementation, hiring of staff, and general oversight of the program. In 2007 Athena and her husband were recognized for their work with the US Department of Homeland Security. She comes as a solid asset to Transitions Cambodia, Inc.
Jaya Sry – DirectorJaya Sry, sometimes referred to as Asry, “Ya-ya”, Sister Victor (Jaya Sry means ‘victorious’), or Ming - she is a consummate leader, mentor, and director of TLC. At 47 years old, she is a survivor of Pol Pot, having narrowly escaped her own death at gunpoint by talking her executioner out of killing her. She graduated from high school, but never attended college. Instead, she applied herself to learning impeccable English, computers, and finance. Now widowed with four adult children, Jaya has been an indispensable team member.
From 2004-2006, she was the director of an aftercare shelter for sexually trafficked girls, funded by an organization out of Finland, called Children of Cambodia. When the organization failed to maintain adequate funding, the organization closed, leaving Jaya Sry as the ideal candidate for directing the start up TLC project in September of 2006. Since then, she has faithfully shown a tremendous fortitude in dealing with brothel owners, difficult families, and confronting difficult clients.
Jaya’s philosophy in dealing with client’s is that no one gets left behind. She values each client for their strengths and assets, not their faults and failures. She often works overtime, sleeping at the center, and spends her free time teaching the girls English or life skills. The clients love her and other organizations staff’s find her an irresistible person.
She is a strong administrator with a keen sense of finances and budgeting. In the first year of operation, she has reduced spending and refined operational expenses by 15-17%. Jaya’s computer skills include Microsoft Office, e-mail, and report design. Her passion and love for Transitions Cambodia, Inc. is evident in the quality of work she does.