Freya first visited Cambodia in 2007 with her sisters. The twins returned home to Canada but Freya changed her ticket and stayed on to develop a social enterprise for New Futures Orphanage in Takeo and began learning the Khmer language.
Freya moved full time to Kampot in 2010 and immediately began developing the Banteay Srey Project. Her vision at first was a project that would serve trafficked victims but after two years of fieldwork and outreach, she began to understand the problems facing Khmer women were so broad that her efforts would be more effective if the focus was on prevention. Many Khmer women are at imminent risk: exploitation and abuse are common in marriage and in the workplace. Young Cambodian women today were raised by survivors of the Khmer Rouge in homes fraught with the effects of severe post-traumatic stress. In 2012, the Banteay Srey Project began working with ordinary impoverished village women who were struggling and seeking better employment opportunities.
The profoundly nurturing and safe work environment at Banteay Srey was designed by Freya, who drew inspiration from her own experiences healing from childhood trauma and sexual abuse.
She has seen the benefits of embodied therapies such as yoga and bodywork in her own life. Together with the input of Khmer women and the efforts of many skilled volunteers, she has developed a comprehensive spa training progamme that is very supportive to personal growth.
Freya feels that all the paths she’s walked on in life have led her to this place and this project. Her fluent spoken Khmer has developed to a point where her days are filled with enlightening conversation with Khmer people from all walks of life. She has sold her restaurant in Canada and opened an eco-resort to sustain herself financially in Cambodia. She is supported by exceptional women who believe in her vision enough to travel across the world to volunteer at Banteay Srey.
Her vision at first was a project that would serve trafficked victims but after two years of fieldwork and outreach, she began to understand the problems facing Khmer women were so broad that her efforts would be more effective if the focus was on prevention