I Am Who I Am

My 25 Year Journey with the Poorest in Cambodia

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The memoir is about my 25-year journey working as God’s hands in Cambodia. My passion for the people of Cambodia started many years ago when the bombing and genocide were taking place in this country. I knew then, as I know today, that this is the country I must serve.

– Janne Ritskes


Jannes Ritskes

Jannes Ritskes was born on April 22, 1948 in Smilde, Netherland. In 1951, her family immigrated to Canada, and she spent her elementary and high school years in Brockville Ontario, although she never finished grade 12. Jannes worked in the business field until 1975, after which she went to Calvin College in 1976. In 1980, she finished her baccalaureate degree in psychology and sociology with latin honors, Cum Laude.

Janne Ritskes has over 40 years of international experience with integrated community development programs. Her work has focused on the poorest of the poor in the slums of the US, Kenya, East Africa, the Philippines, and Cambodia.

I Am Who I Am

My 25 Year Journey with
the Poorest in Cambodia.

In her memoir, Janne shares her journey of starting the NGO Tabitha and Nokor Tep Foundation, the highs of success and lows of disappointment, the challenges of teaching a new way of doing, the mistakes and miracles.

Janne Ritskes had a dream—to help Cambodian people find their way out of poverty.

After discovering the terrible genocide in Cambodia caused by the brutality of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime, Janne set out with all her savings to do what she could to alleviate the suffering of the Cambodian people. In 1994, Janne traveled to Cambodia with the support of friends and family as she put herself in harm’s way for people she had never met… half a world away. Her experiences with NGOs in Asia and Africa helped Janne to develop her own unique community development approach. Janne’s approach was not one of just giving assistance but one of teaching the people she worked with. With her approach, she assisted Cambodians to regain their dignity and self-respect. Janne’s legacy is the 4.7 million Cambodians she helped out of poverty through savings programs, goal setting, and cottage industry.


Amazon customer

“Inspirational life! I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a meaningful life. A true example of compassion and grace and love. NGOs worldwide will benefit from the simple lessons and the candor with which Janne shares her experiences. A truly remarkable history of love and consecration.”

Cora Beking Amazon customer

“Amazing true personal story. I loved it. I know her as a friend and to read her personal story was both moving and inspirational. Wish more people would do this. Incredible journey to take people out of poverty, to give them hope and start businesses to help Cambodians stay out of poverty.”