Jono Barnett – Volunteer
Hi, I’m Jono I volunteered with Rok Kern during its first year of development and start up. I moved to Cambodia during a year’s break from my studies in mid-2017 due to a desire to experience a side of the world I had been mostly sheltered from by my upbringing in Australia – a place in which I am comfortable and in control.
Part of my motivation was certainly also that my girlfriend had moved to Phnom Penh after finishing her degree! Given that I had been keen to try living in and learning from a different culture, I thought “Why not now?”Having heard about Stacie’s idea for Rok Kern, I was thrilled to be able to join the team, as it matched my desire to work with a local NGO with my skills in research, writing, and exploring big issues with school students. I was able to contribute to a cause that I have only grown in my passion for: families are beautiful, good and right places for children to be raised, and children growing up there (rather than in institutions) provides each individual and their society as a whole the chance to flourish. We have a wonderful opportunity to honour and support the work of Cambodian families in raising kids who will form the bedrock of their society, and I was thrilled to be able to share this opportunity with Australian students during my time with CIF.I returned to Australia to continue my degree in mid-2018, got married and we now live in Sydney where we try to continue to witness to God’s love for all, particularly the poor and marginalised. I remain keenly interested in the work of CIF and Rok Kern, and am always excited when I get an email from the team with a favour I can help them out with! A return to Cambodia, or even a different country, remains an open question for the future.