Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our projects throughout Southeast Asia. On January 19 he visited Transitions Global’s Transitional Learning Center in Phnom Penh.
Even among the vulnerable and underserved, there are those who receive disproportionately little attention. For girls that have been victims of sex trafficking and sexual violence, the adolescent years can sometimes be ignored. Transitions Global works with girls in these crucial years—during the transition from being a child to being an adult.
The center where the girls live was clean and seemed comfortable and well equipped for the daily activities of eating, learning, counseling and sleeping. All the dorms were full of colorful clothes and decorations; some girls put up posters of pop stars. In my brief interaction with them, the girls seemed like a tight-knit group—joking around together, greeting me confidently and warmly. I took it as a good sign that many girls who had “graduated” from the center had stopped in that evening to say hello.
In talking with Summer, an American social worker, and Jaya, a Khmer staff member, it seems Transitions Global is dedicated to helping these girls find a sustainable future. Unlike some other shelters, Transitions Global starts off with asking the girls, “What do you want to be?” Summer says such a question is very foreign to the girls at first, having never been asked it before. Transitions Global focuses on getting the girls trained for jobs which pay better than prostitution so there is no financial incentive to go back. Two current popular choices are being a cook or yoga instructor.
It’s hard to think about what went on in these girls’ past, but with Transitions Global they appear to have a stable present and promising future.