Give Trafficked Girls a New Future in Cambodia

by Transitions Global

These last six months have been really good for me. I’ve made a lot of advances in my education. I am in the 9th grade now and I’m having a great time at high school. Every day I learn so much! Doing well in school is really important to me, even if my schedule is really busy right now. My teachers are really happy with how hard I work and I’ve made quite a few friends.

I’ve been taking bicycle lessons and I’m getting quite good at it! My Life Skills classes are also pretty fun and interesting. I enjoy learning how to be independent and take care of myself. In a few years it will be time to reintegrate and I want to be prepared!

I’m really happy to be at Transitions. I want people to know how blessed and lucky I feel to be getting an education. I really feel that I will be able to achieve my dreams. I visited my family recently. It was nice to see them again and tell them about what I’m doing. It really made me realize how lucky I am and how far I have come!

Links:

Transitions would like to share with you our latest video! Our amazingly talented friends at Join the Lights produced "Rescue is Not Enough," a short film explaining Transitions' mission as a best-in-class shelter and restoration center for girls who have been the victims of sex trafficking. Join the Lights is an acclaimed community of artists who use film to share the stories of incredible struggles and courage around the world. We feel honored to have been chosen to be one of their subjects. The team immersed themselves in Transitions culture for a month and when they emerged they crafted this stunning piece, which captures our core work and values.

The film gives our CEO and Founder, James Pond, a chance to talk to the public about sex trafficking in Southeast Asia and the unique challenges that Cambodia faces. Most importantly, he explains Transitions' holistic treatment model and why it is greatly respected and often emulated in the humanitarian community. The most important investment in the lives of these young women is quality care, specifically in the form of long-term individualized counseling and education. Transitions spends more time and money on each girl to give her what she needs to heal and succeed in her next phase of life.

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One of the girls living in the Dream Home recently gave an update about her life:

I have grown a lot in my independent living skills these past six months.

I really love my life skills class because I have been learning a lot about some important lessons in taking care of myself. My favorite lesson was about healthy eating and water drinking habits.

I can ride a bicycle now and I practice very often around the house. I really enjoy staying at the Dream Home and this is really like a home to me. I love eating all the food that has been cooked by the house moms and I like hanging out with all my friends in the shelter. I even like doing housework and spend most of my time at Shine making jewelry for a small business project I am working on with another girl at Dream Home.

I have improved my English and really like to practice speaking with my teacher. I also participate in yoga class on the weekend.

Follow the link below to learn more about Sopheak's small business project and how you can support it:


Links:

We are so proud of one of our graduates who became a yoga instructor at Nataraj Yoga in Phnom Penh. She has worked hard, overcome her past, followed her dream, and now her monthly salary is more than most people in Cambodia can earn! More importantly, she has a strong sense of accomplishment, gives back to society by teaching yoga to underprivileged children, and lives as an independent woman. Here’s what she said about her new life:

I am so happy, and this job is not something I ever thought I would be able to do. Through my work I was able to save $800 and I also keep myself busy and work so hard every day. My supervisor gave me a lot of extra classes to teach which means I am paid more at the end of the month. I bought a motorbike that cost $1000, and I also rent my own house. I brought my brother to live with me because I knew that he was staying in a very difficult situation with my mother in Thailand. I was also able to send him to school. I feel so warm that people around me care about me so much and that means a lot to my life. I have been through a lot of difficult times, but I really appreciate that I can make a lot of progresses in my career and I can deal with all the difficulties that come up. I keep working as a yoga instructor and my salary is about $500 per month because I teach a lot of classes. I love my job so much because this is my first job since I was with Transitions and I enjoy working with all my students who are from different NGOs in Cambodia. I get to know a lot about myself because all my training and I am getting to know more about people around me. I feel that I have a lot of improvement with my English and it’s so great that I can communicate with the Western customers who come to do yoga with me. Natatraj also provides me with English class every day and this is an opportunity for me to grow in this field. I am thinking of saving money to buy land at the outskirts of town because it’s not so expensive and I want to build a small house there.

At Transitions, we use multiple forms of therapy to help girls along their journey from their trauma and pain toward wholeness and healing. One form of therapy we use is art therapy and often it brings amazing insights and results. Recently Sovann, one of the girls in the Dream Home program, created something beautiful while reflecting on her time with Transitions, and has agreed to let us share it with you. The prompt for this art assessment was to draw a nest. Sometimes people doing this assessment choose to draw nests that stand alone, and others draw them in trees. Some people want to have eggs in their nest, and some leave them empty. Some have mother birds there to protect the eggs, and some have no birds at all. Some people depict the roots of the tree deep and far reaching, but sometimes the trees are not well rooted. The choices girls make when drawing these nests are important indicators of the state of their attachment and security, past and present. After Sovann drew her drawing, she was asked to tell a story to describe it. This is what she said: “This is a story about a bird. When the bird first came to the nest, she was small and skinny and not pretty. But the nest is in a safe place and has flowers and shade and food, and now the bird is big and beautiful and soon she will learn to fly. The tree is a safe place with plenty of fruit growing on the branches. And if that fruit is not in season then it’s okay because the house moms will go to the market and buy different kinds of fruit.” Then she looked up and said, “This tree is the Dream Home and I am the big, beautiful bird who is learning to fly”. Often, in this particular art assessment when there is a grown-up bird depicted, it represents a present adult caretaker, but for Sovann, the big bird is her. And the baby bird depicts her when she first arrived at the Dream Home. As Sovann shared this story with her treatment team, they experienced a deep-felt sense of joy. The number one goal we have at the Dream Home is to establish a sense of safety, security, and protection for our residents. We want to give them a place where they can heal, grow, and learn to fly. In this drawing, Sovann told us that all of our efforts were successful in giving her just what she needed to heal. She’s happy in this tree and while she may not be quite ready to fly, she knows that she soon will be.

 

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Organization Information

Transitions Global

Location: Nashville, TN - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.transitionsglobal.org
Transitions Global
Project Leader:
Athena Pond
Director
Cincinnati, Ohio United States

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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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