May 4, 2020

Sometimes parents need a second chance too.

Late last year we received an emergency foster care case of an infant girl nicknamed "Om." She came to us with cigarette burns on each cheek because her mentally handicapped mother was upset she was crying while her father was out working. She was removed from her home by local authorities, and the plan was to simply send her to a government orphanage for good. However, we offered to provide foster care to Om to give the family a chance to make the home environment safer and for the mother to receive help.

In April we were overjoyed to be able to take her back to her family. Her father had given up smoking, had made the home more child-safe structurally, and the mother had received professional psychiatric help. Om has an older brother who was thrilled to have his little sister return home. We trained the family on how to provide better childcare and are getting positive updates from local nurses who are checking in on the family. Thank you for helping make The Light Center possible. Because of your investment in our work, an entire family has had their life changed. 

Apr 7, 2020

Does Education Matter in COVID 19?

Distributing food.
Distributing food.

As the world shuts down due to COVID 19, the economic impact is being felt by everyone. But for those who are already living in extreme poverty, the loss of work is most devastating. Education Matters provides aid to poor families so that their children will be encouraged to finish school and thereby break the cycle of poverty. In order to help the children, we also must help the entire family. Recently, two of our staff, Dave and Jason, saw that one of the poorest communities we work with was in great need. The families living in this village work primarily as day laborers making just enough to live day by day. With everything closing down in Thailand, these families are now without work. No work means no food. We only support a couple of children in this village, but it is hard to help one family and not all of them. So, Dave and Jason used their own money (not Education Matters funds) to buy a bag of rice for every family in the village - 33 families in all! We are so thankful for the heart and sacrifice these guys made and it shows the heart of the Education Matters program. The only way we can help children succeed is by helping families succeed! 

We are seeing similar needs in all the communities we work in. We will continue to work hard to meet real human needs in the midst of the COVID 19 outbreak! Thank you so much for being part of the solution! And a huge thanks to Dave and Jason for coming alongside those in need!

Food distribution
Food distribution
Jan 24, 2020

What Could Go Wrong?

Photo Credit:  TICAC
Photo Credit: TICAC

Over time, we have (collectively, as a global society) put unlimited access to unlimited content at the fingertips of children.  Furthermore, we have encouraged young people to digitally record every aspect of their lives.  Subsequently, we have created financial incentives to post and share such recordings.  What could possibly go wrong?

In one of our team's last cases of 2019 (one of 54 cases that HUG was able to assist with last year), an underage girl was filmed by her underage boyfriend performing sexual acts.  After the couple broke up, the ex-boyfriend sold the footage to subscription-based groups through various applications such as Line (popular in Thailand), VK (popular in Russia), and Twitter.

In a subscription-based business model, customers pay a recurring price (such as a monthly fee) for access to material (in this case, child pornography).  In Thailand, once such material has been exchanged for monetary value (the boyfriend receiving payment for photos/video), it is potentially a human-trafficking case. 

This case is heartbreaking on many levels.  First, the victim will feel the trauma of having these images circulating around the world for the rest of her life.  Second, the accused offender is also under 18.  Finally, this pattern of youth-produced material being sold online is exploding worldwide.  Ironically, the material itself seems to be fueling more demand.  

Sometimes it feels like our team is swimming against a tidal wave.  However, we are making progress!  In this case, for example, we were able to partner with TICAC (Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children) to help put together the case, and to assist the victim.  We are grateful for your generosity- which enables HUG to conduct trafficking prevention, aid investigations, and provide survivor support.  Together, we can turn the tide! 

 
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