Last you heard that our Step Ahead Isaan Center opened in Khon Kaen, in order to challenge the unsafe and uninformed migration practices that puts teenage girls at great risk of human trafficking upon arrival in urban centers, interrupting their opportunity to study and build their futures.
Now, we have also opened in Buriram and Korat provinces in Northeast Thailand. Step Ahead plans continued focused awareness raising, mentoring, training, and community economic development that will make steps ahead realities for families right across Isaan. Today, womens groups across Isaan are being trained to make beautiful purses that can change their economic futures.
These Community Economic Development (CED) initiatives provide economic opportunities and improve social conditions in a sustainable way and creating alternative livelihoods for the poor, through community-centered processes that blend social and economic development to foster the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of communities.
Thanks for standing with them as they step ahead into freedom through GlobalGiving now.
After having served in Bangkok and Southern Thailand, we are so excited to be stepping ahead in Northeast Thailand!
In Northeast Thailand (Isaan), teen girls are often considered by their families as economic engines mobilized to urban centers to provide much needed income. The majority of young women in Bangkok and Pattaya bar-brothels come from Isaan. Unsafe and uninformed migration puts them at great risk of human trafficking upon arrival in urban centers, interrupting their opportunity to study and build their futures.
Step Ahead, partnering with other like-minded NGOs, plans focused awareness raising, mentoring, training, and community economic development that will make ongoing pursuit of their educations possible and practical. We have now opened our first training center in Khon Kaen right in the middle of Northeast Thailand.
Community Economic Development (CED) is action taken locally by a community to provide economic opportunities and improve social conditions in a sustainable way. CED initiatives create alternative livelihoods for the poor, through a community-centered process that blends social and economic development to foster the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of communities.
You can make it happen today by standing with us on GlobalGiving now.
As our committed Thai staff keep caring for the families and communities of Bangkok, teams of international school students are strengthening our programs as they come to teach after school English, come to Kid's Club, or run Basketball clinics. All of it means the mentoring and training for Step ahead families is more encouraging than ever.
Meanwhile, the four Child Development Centers in Southern Thailand, have in addition to the caring teachers in each school, they now also have two one-year volunteers teaching Conversational English from the USA, as well as, a young lady from Germany who is not only teaching German but also painting murals in one of the child Development Centers.
New Community Economic Development projects are also developing in Khao Lak ranging from a Thai Sweet Shop to a Catfish Tank, either way they mean more economic opportunity for their families.
Finally, we are excited with two trips we have recently made across Northeast IIsaan) Thailand, the poorest region of the country. Our plans are now in process to take our proven integrated community development into villages across the region to strengthen families and communities at risk.
Thanks so much for continuing to stand with us as we step ahead together.
Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:
On June 13, I met with Step Ahead Founder, John, at the main office near a slum community of Bangkok, Khlong Toei. After meeting staff and seeing the gorgeous purses that women are able to make with Step Ahead in order to earn income, we went into the community to meet those receiving mentoring, training, and microloans. Additionally, Step Ahead hosts basketball and event days for local youth.
Working through local districts, Step Ahead first hosted meetings to reach out to the community. In the slums, people either live in tall government projects that have about 250 rooms and about 1500 people per building or they live in shacks between buildings through winding alleys. These homes are made from bits and pieces of scrap metals and wood all stacked on top and in between each other.
Walking through Khlong Toei, John explained that the situation is much better than it was before. A few years ago I would have seen sewage-filled alleys. The first Step Ahead micro-entrepreneur we came across was at her stand selling confectionary items. She said she uses the loans to buy “stuff to sell”. Another woman has a restaurant serving food through a window facing the alley. Finally, we came to a family business close to a pond turned into a sewage and trash dump. Outside of their home were bathtubs filled with water and chickens’ feet. This family processes chicken feet to be sold at the market. The family told us that the helpers (who come to de-bone the feet) and the buyers have not been coming as regularly – and they did not know why. One member of the family was a single dad of 3 kids.
We continued to walk through the community meeting local citizens and observing their daily lives. Because of the support of Step Ahead the local citizens can continue to run their businesses and not have to go to loan sharks that charge high interest rates while emotionally and physically bullying their loaners if money is not repaid back on time.
Thanks to your generosity micro-entrepreneurs in Bangkok, and poor widows and orphans in Southern Thailand are receiving financial opportunities, mentoring, and encouragement to step ahead to a better futures.
In the first part of 2012, these life changing steps ahead have been made possible by you.
Soon, we have plans to pursue the rolling out of these dynamic programs in the poorest regions of Thailand- the Northeast. These programs promise to bolster at-risk groups who becase of economic pressures are pressed into following unwise and unsafe migrations into the urban centers of Thailand where they are then most vunerable to sexual exploitation.
We hope you will join us as we step ahead to deliver hope in the next widow of opportunity.
Thanks again for all your support, and we hope you will consider today making a further clear financial commitment to helping us make more steps ahead for the poor, vulnerable and at-risk in Thailand.
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