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Bhavia Wagner

Born in Corvallis, Bhavia Wagner left Oregon at age two and grew up in Urbana, Illinois. She studied environmental education in Colorado, managed a watershed council in Michigan, and owned a recycled-paper company with her then-husband in Wisconsin. "We had over 100 staff," she says. "We tried to be socially responsible." After a divorce and a move to California, Wagner took part in a 1991 Peace Walk in Viet Nam. She also visited Cambodia, devastated by American bombs, Khmer Rouge genocide, and civil war. "I was struck by the incredible poverty," she relates. "No cars in the capital city, children in rags." In 1994, she returned with photographer Valentina DuBasky for three months of interviews with Cambodians. Their book Soul Survivors was published in 2002, the same year that Wagner moved to Eugene to start a new non-profit. Launched in 2003, Friendship with Cambodia supplied scholarships to 31 poor children in 2004. Learn more at www.friendshipwithcambodia.org and attend the "Celebrate Dessert" benefit for Cambodian street children on Friday, April 8, beginning at 6:30 at St Mary's Episcopal Church, 13th and Pearl.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 7 April 2005

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