Your gift is helping transform the lives of young girls at risk of trafficking in rural Laos, like 17-year-old Leh. She recently bounded into the village leader’s office, with a handful of money and beaming with pride.
“I sold all of my sticky stick snacks in just an hour!” exclaimed the ecstatic teen. She held up her earnings, which she planned to share with her friends who helped her sell the snacks.
Leh’s village is just a few miles from the border of Thailand. Young girls often disappear after crossing the border into Thailand to look for work. Many are trafficked into Thailand’s insidious sex tourism industry. Others are forced to work for no pay, or other forms of exploitation. Three of Leh’s older siblings have gone to Thailand in search of work. When her father passed away three years ago, she considered doing the same thing so she could help support her disabled mother.
Your gift is helping provide job skills and awareness training for girls like Leh in this region to earn income close to home and stay safe. Leh recently participated in cooking classes at World Concern’s youth center. That’s where she learned how easy it was to prepare sticky sticks. She knew immediately she could start a small business selling the tasty treats.
Leh was determined and started her business with $2 she saved to purchase a sack of flour, sugar, and oil. She brought her first batch of sticky sticks to the school during the students’ break time. She sold the snacks for 10 cents each. In just one hour, she had earned $5—a profit of $3 for an hour of selling.
“Doing this makes me happy,” she said. “I wake up at 5:00 a.m., do my chores, and start cooking at 8:00 a.m.” She’s home by 11 a.m. with the day’s profits in hand.
“Thank you not only for changing my life but also my family’s life,” said Leh. “I am very grateful to the project for guiding me in choosing the right path and for securing my future and making me safe.”
Leh is sharing what she learned with her friends, and is now an active member of the youth campaign in her village that helps raise awareness about human trafficking.
Your gift helped make this possible. Thank you!
Your gifts protect girls near the Thai border in Laos, keeping them safe at home, and safe from traffickers. Because of you, they’re learning about the danger on the other side of the border, and are learning vital skills to stay safe.
The village where Nang lives is just a few miles from the border, making residents highly vulnerable to traffickers. It's not uncommon for men to visit poor villages along the Laos-Thailand border with deceptive offers of high paying jobs in restaurants or coffee shops. But their promises are lies designed to lure the desperately poor into the sex trade.
Nang has a sweet smile and so much potential. But she is at great risk, being at the vulnerable age when most girls quit school to work and help support their families.
“Poor families see only the opportunity, not the danger,” says Olive Orate, World Concern’s country director in Laos. Roughly a third of children from this region end up as sex workers. Many from Nang’s village have gone to Thailand and never returned.
That’s where you come in. With your help, Nang and other young girls in her village are involved in our youth center where they participate in drama workshops that teach them to identify traffickers’ lies. Now, when Nang hears about a job in a coffee shop or restaurant in Thailand, she will know it’s a lie—a trap to lure her across the border and into slavery.
She’s also taking classes to learn skills, like sewing, hairstyling, and jewelry making that enable her to help support her family safely at home. With you as her protector, Nang’s future looks brighter. She and her friends see opportunities right here at home, where they are safe. And with your help, that’s where they’ll stay.
Your gifts continue to equip young girls near the Thai border in Laos with valuable job skills, keeping them safe at home, and safe from traffickers. With these new skills, they are able to earn income close to home and have alternatives to crossing the border into Thailand in search of work. Because of you, they’re also learning about the danger on the other side of the border, and telling their friends about it too.
One of those you’re helping protect is 18-year-old Khantin. She has become very active in World Concern’s program in her village where she met her best friend, Duangmany. The friendship turned out to be a vital part of keeping Khantin safe. After hearing about her friend’s experience in Thailand, she vowed never to go there herself. Duangmany, had had been offered a job serving beer to men in a restaurant… but it likely involved much more. She was forced to work such long hours, she eventually returned home, empty-handed and traumatized. She still won’t talk about what happened to her in Thailand.
Thankfully, she made it home. Many other young girls from their village never return.
Khantin learned from the World Concern staff about the danger across the border, and how to keep herself safe. She’s also learning profitable job skills, like making brooms and selling them at local markets. She has learned to sew clothing and to style hair – her favorite skill so far!
“I want to open a salon in the future because there’s no salon yet in our village,” said an enthusiastic Khantin. “But first, I want my community to notice that my skill in hair cutting and styling is getting better and better until they will believe in me, and then I will have more customers.”
Khantin is grateful for the opportunity to earn income close to home. She doesn’t want to be away from her family, because she now knows it’s safer to stay close to home. She’s also grateful for the many new friends she has made through her involvement with World Concern’s project, especially Duangmany. The two friends have a much brighter future to look forward to, thanks to you.
With your help, 12 girls recently learned beauty skills and received business startup kits through World Concern’s Youth Center in the Champassak region of Laos, near the border of Thailand. Because of you, they are now equipped to earn income safely and avoid the danger of being trafficked into Thailand.
One of the girls is 17-year-old Xayphin. Like many young girls in her village, Xayphin was encouraged by friends to cross the border into Thailand, where many believe high paying jobs in restaurants are waiting. She had no idea that the friends – and even her own siblings – who had made this journey before her had likely become victims of forced labor or sex trafficking.
But Xayphin had a dream of saving money to open her own beauty salon in her home someday. She believed this could be a profitable business, knowing there are currently no beauty services in the area.
With her dream in mind, Xayphin put herself at great risk and crossed the border into Thailand last year. She found a job as a housemaid for a Chinese family about 300 kilometers from the border. But she became homesick, and being the youngest and the only unmarried child in the family, she felt responsible for her aging parents. So, after 3 months of working in Thailand, she returned to her village in time to help her parents with the harvest … thankfully, before being harmed or lured by traffickers.
When she returned, Xayphin learned that World Concern’s nearby youth center was offering job skills training – including hair styling and make up classes. She was thrilled, knowing this opportunity was a safe way to pursue her dream.
Not only did she learn marketable job skills, Xayphin met new friends, and was able to practice what she’d learned with these new friends. Xayphin received a business starter kit too, moving her closer to earning income with her new skills.
It wasn’t long before she had her first customer – a friend who needed her hair styled for a celebration. Her friend paid her $1.25 for her services. With this first job, Xayphin realized what was possible with her new skills. She told us she has decided not to migrate to Thailand, knowing it’s safer to be with her family at home.
You’re helping protect young girls like Xayphin with your gift. Thank you!
I want to tell you an amazing story of a little girl you’re helping protect from trafficking by enabling her to go to school. She’s barely 10 years old, and her name is Bounlong.
This precious little girl basically became an orphan when her mother and older sister left their village in Laos to travel to Thailand in search of work … but no one in the family has heard from them in three years.
It’s very likely that Buonlong’s mother and sister were lured by traffickers with deceptive offers of high-paying work.
Buonlong’s father suffers from a lung disease, but works hard to earn about $5 a day to support his family. Unfortunately this means he and Buonlong’s brother must stay in town all week to work, leaving Buonlong, her 14-year-old sister Ann, and their younger brother to fend for themselves. The children also take care of a 3-year-old niece, left behind by their oldest sister.
Can you imagine being a child and having this much responsibility? Needless to say, Buonlong wasn’t attending school, and she was at great risk for becoming a victim of trafficking herself.
With your support, World Concern intervened in Buonlong’s life, helping her get back in school, providing her with tuition, school supplies, and a uniform, and teaching her about staying safe. She’s thrilled to be enrolled in school, and says she will finish her education so that someday she can provide for her family. When she gets a little older, we’ll teach her job skills to earn income safely in her village.
None of this would be possible without support from people like you – thank you!
If you’d like to help protect more girls like Buonlong, I have some great news:
In honor of Giving Tuesday, the generous folks at Microsoft are matching all donations made to this project today!
That means your gift of $40 to educate a young girl like Buonlong becomes $80, helping two girls instead of one. Or a gift of $125 to provide an at-risk girl with job skills doubles to $250, equipping two girls instead of one.
I hope you’ll take advantage of today’s matching opportunity. Please give now – Microsoft’s matching funds will likely run out quickly.
Thank you for your support!
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