By Rev. Dr. Stephen Kim
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Senior Pastor of Kardia Church in Los Angeles
I wholeheartedly support TASSEL Cambodia for the following reasons:
Joji Tatsugi, the founder and CEO of TASSEL, has a genuine heart for the poor in Cambodia. He serves the people there with a great deal of personal sacrifice. I trust Joji to act in the best interests of his teachers and students. He is an effective and tireless leader. He is also a person of keen vision as he sees the opportunities to help and empower the Cambodian people and then executes that vision with industry and boldness.
TASSEL is having a real impact. When I visited the schools, I could see the joy and gratitude in the faces of the children and teachers. I did not see this kind of joy and gratitude in most other places in the country, which is still suffering from the effects of the genocide. Speaking to the higher English level students was a revelation. They were so articulate and fluent. TASSEL produces results in terms of English learning. In visiting the families and villages where TASSEL is providing aid, I was overwhelmed by the expressions of love I witnessed from the Cambodian people who have been helped by TASSEL. TASSEL is having an immediate, practical impact in the lives of real people in dire need.
TASSEL has a culture of genuine love for people expressed in practical ways. This culture permeates everything and everyone. It is evident in every teacher I talk to. They are genuinely concerned for the welfare of their students, and all of them sacrifice higher paying positions to be with TASSEL. It is evident in every volunteer I talked to on the summer trip I took to Cambodia. They were all there, enduring challenging conditions, helping the poorest of the poor, because they really cared about the people.
TASSEL is that rare organization with a big heart and effective methodology. I regard TASSEL as a model other organizations that want to help the poor should study. They put the real needs of the poor first, and meet those needs with love and sacrifice. I have no doubt that TASSEL will continue to be a vital part of the redevelopment of Cambodia to prosperity.