There is so much we take for granted in this life, like knowing the date of our birth. Like knowing our parents. Like knowing who we are. And where we come from. Because, we can use this as our path, or we can choose to let this go. But what if you never had this? What if you never know?

Somaly Mam does not know when she was born. Or to whom. She was orphaned in Cambodia during the war, and she grew up in the forest, without a name. Until a family took her in, and gave her the name she carries today. And of all names, it would be Mam, because she is mother to thousands of girls. And to me, a saint.

Her story is not pretty, yet she is beautiful. Radiant of heart, light, spirit eternal. Never have I known such a person was real. Never did I believe one person has the power to change the world. No matter what their circumstances.

Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Never let them steal your shine. Somaly Mam is a saint and a goddess and a heroine and a mother and she is divine. And, ohh, did I mention? She is totally down to earth. I don’t know her very well, but in the few moments in which we have shared, I felt this feeling that a saint is someone who is as real as flesh, as human as blood, and what makes her special is that she not only speaks the truth but she puts her life on the line.

Happy Birthday Somaly. Although I cannot be with you this evening, I am with you in spirit. You have changed my life in ways I do not understand and it is my dream that one day I should be able to give back to the world what you have given to me.

Somaly Mam Foundation

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