World Vision Goes Around the World to Find the True Spirit of Christmas Next Stop: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, December 01, 2009 --( Since November 19, World Vision and thousands of people around the world have been traveling the globe in search of the Christmas spirit as part of the Christian humanitarian agency’s “Spirit of Christmas” tour. The month-long tour features interviews and stories with children and families in the United States, Ecuador, Cambodia, Zambia and Ethiopia. In the past two weeks, World Vision’s team has been highlighting both the heartbreaking circumstances of the poor and the inspiring impact even small donations of a few dollars can make in helping families provide for their children.

“So far, we’ve traveled from the neighborhoods of New York City to the mountains of Ecuador to see if we can find the ‘true spirit of Christmas’ around the world,” said Devin Hermanson, campaign manager for World Vision’s “Spirit of Christmas” tour. “In a year full of financial scandals, war, natural disasters, and a global recession, we all need a little encouragement. What we’ve found so far is that people around the world are still helping their neighbor in need.”

The team has traveled to New York City and Quito, Ecuador. The team left Ecuador on Saturday, November 28 and traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There the team will learn first-hand about the sex trafficking industry and meet several young children who have been rescued from sexual slavery and are rebuilding their lives. About 2 million children – most of them girls – are enslaved in the global sex trade today.

Fast facts about the “Spirit of Christmas” tour in Phnom Penh, Cambodia:
· The team has traveled more than 14, 456 miles since November 19.
· So far, more than $4.2 million – or nearly 20% of the goal – has been raised toward this year’s $25 million goal.
· More than 14 million people live in Cambodia.
· More than one-third of Cambodians live below the poverty line, and nearly 78% live on less than $2 a day.
· Between 50,000 – 100,000 women and children are involved in the global sex trade.
· It is estimated that nearly 30% of children involved in the sex trade are under 18.
· The life expectancy for the average person is 61 years old.
· World Vision has worked in Cambodia since 1970.

As part of the “Spirit of Christmas” tour, the organization seeks to raise a record-breaking $25 million through the World Vision Gift Catalog to help provide these communities with much-needed resources like water, livestock, medicine, and agriculture – assistance that could change the lives of nearly 625,000 people. World Vision’s cash donations are currently down 4 percent – or $33 million – a deficit that could ultimately affect the poorest families around the world. If World Vision meets the Gift Catalog’s financial goal this year, it would be far more than the aid agency has ever raised during the holiday period, making it a truly extraordinary response in extraordinary times.

World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. A gift given through the catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty, while at the same time honor your friends and loved ones. There are more than 100 gifts (many under $35) to choose from. To order, visit our website at or call toll-free 1 (888) 511-6511. All items are tax-deductible.


To schedule an interview with the team as they travel, please contact Laura Blank at or +1.646.245.2496. To follow the team online, log onto Facebook, visit us on Twitter, or check out the “Spirit of Christmas” campaign site at

Note: The “Spirit of Christmas” World Tour Schedule
Bronx, New York November 17 – 22, 2009
Quito, Ecuador November 22 – 27, 2009
Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 28 – December 5, 2009
Lusaka, Zambia December 6 – 13, 2009
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia December 13 – 17, 2009
Bronx, New York December 18 – 23, 2009

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit
World Vision
Laura Blank