Huntington, Ind.—When Amber Hirschy goes to work, she faces major societal issues including poverty and human trafficking. The 2005 Huntington University graduate is living in Cambodia, immersing herself in a new culture and impacting her world for Christ.
A passion for international economic development is what brought Hirschy to Cambodia. At Huntington, she studied business management, economics and finance. When she graduated, she took a job as a sales representative in Huntington, thanks to an offer by her previous boss from an office job on campus. And though she calls the job a huge blessing and says it provided her with some real-world experience, she wanted more.
In July 2005, Hirschy contacted an organization called World Hope International to see if there were any positions available in economic development. When the organization contacted her in December 2005 with an opportunity in Cambodia, she knew it was for her.
“I was incredibly blessed and was able to raise all of my support in four months which allowed me to leave for Cambodia in May,” Hirschy said.
And after half a year in Asia, Hirschy has learned a great deal from her experiences. She works part-time for a microfinance institution called Cambodia Rural Economic Development Initiatives for Transformation and part-time for an organization called Chab Dai, which is a coalition of Christian organizations committed to ending sexual abuse and trafficking in Cambodia. She is very grateful to have both opportunities.
“I had heard about the situation with trafficking girls for sex,” Hirschy said, “but it wasn’t until I knew the girls that had experienced it that I really began to understand how horrid and widespread it is. These girls have really touched my heart, and I love working with them.”
CREDIT is also a blessing to Hirschy because she explained she feels, because of working with the institution, that there may be a different direction for her life than she previously thought. She loves the opportunity to talk with people and see how a small loan in the beginning is able to help grow a family’s business and ultimately provide them with significantly better lives.
One of the greatest influences and encouragement that Hirschy receives comes from her living environment—an apartment on the campus of a Bible college. In a country that is largely Buddhist and where Christians are often disowned by their families out of fear that, because of having a Christian family member, the ancestors will bring bad luck, the strength of these students’ faith daily aids Hirschy’s own.
“It greatly excites me that these passionate students are out spreading the news of Christ and building a foundation for change in Cambodia,” she said.
The environment of a Christian college reminds Hirschy of how grateful she is for her own higher education. It also prepared her in so many ways for what she is now doing.
She explains that her business and finance classes helped prepare her for working with CREDIT. Cross-cultural classes aided her understanding of how to adjust to the new culture, and general classes helped with communication skills which are important in proposal writing, preparing marketing materials and networking.
But after all of this, Hirschy is still unsure of what the future holds for her.
“God has opened so many doors here and revealed to me so many passions that I have that I previously did not realize,” Hirschy said. “He taught me so much about myself and Himself, and my faith has dramatically strengthened. I am constantly changing my mind about what I want to do in the future.”
Whether Hirschy continues her work in Cambodia or returns to work in the states, one thing can be certain. She will carry this experience with her wherever she goes.