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 May 10, I met with an organization that is addressing human trafficking and sexual exploitation from where it starts instead of at the end of the line. The SOLD Project is using education as a means of trafficking prevention from the outskirts of Chiang Rai, Thailand.
I met with Shannon, Director of Interns and Volunteers, to visit The SOLD Project facility and resource center for youth. GlobalGiving funds provided a computer lab and provided new desks to this facility. When I arrived, a local university student was teaching students the importance of social media safety. A lesson I think we all could benefit from. Shannon shared that there are about 120 youth in its program in total, but about 20-30 attend daily. Youth spend their time after school, on weekends, and on breaks learning about computers, art, guitar, photography, and any other projects that volunteers and mentors wish to teach.
During computer time, I was able to sit down with a few of The SOLD Project's scholarship recipients and get to know them better.
Cat, one of the first scholarship recipients, shared a bit about her background: Her favorite subjects include English and math. When not in school, Cat watches TV and listens to music. After high school she hopes to do something with communication and language. She loves to learn because of the variety of knowledge she gains, and she wants to learn more. After, she said “thank you very much for tables, chairs, and computers.” Because they have access to computers and Internet, they can all learn so much more. In addition to the computers, the new shiny desks were wonderful to see compared to the old ones that were falling apart.
Nan is another young student I spoke with who has applied and just passed the entrance exam for a good school that teaches English and Chinese. In her free time she likes to listen to music and read books. Her favorite subject is language, and she hopes to pursue studying tourism when she gets to university.
I was told by one of the SOLD students that if SOLD wasn’t there, she would not have anything to do, be bored, and not be with friends. The SOLD Project provides an outlet for these youth - a chance to continue education past what they can afford, continue learning, and a safe place to be when not in school.
At the end of the day, I sat with staff and spoke about their backgrounds and what brought them to SOLD. Many shared how their religious backgrounds drove them to work with an organization like SOLD, but all shared their passion and commitment to working for this organization.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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