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The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education

by The Freedom Story (Formerly The SOLD Project)
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The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
The Freedom Story: Prevention Through Education
Students in the Photo Booth
Students in the Photo Booth

Dear Friends,

As 2015 comes to a close, I’m feeling very grateful for another wonderful year with The SOLD Project. It’s been amazing to see how much of an impact we continually have on our students and the community as a whole. We are truly thankful for your involvement in helping to prevent the exploitation of children in Thailand.

We love this time of year at the Resource Center!  We just had our annual Christmas Party where, as we do every year, we opened up the Resource Center to the entire community, offering fun, family building activities and programs.

One activity was a photo booth set up with props, which was a big hit among the students! We also set up a Christmas tree for kids to pick a number off of that correlated to a small present they could choose. 

During the program, some of the staff took the stage (Tawee, pictured below) and explained to everyone why we celebrate Christmas. They quizzed the kids in the audience, and if they answered correctly, they won prizes.

We love encouraging students to be creative and to show off their creativity through performances. Some of the students from the Resource Center performed a dance, and others from the community were invited to dance and sing as well. 

Thank you for making our work possible. Without your support, our life-giving activities, educational programs, and community gatherings such as the Christmas party would not be possible. Happy Holidays! 

With hope and gratitude,
The SOLD Project Team

Tawee Speaking at the Christmas Party
Tawee Speaking at the Christmas Party
Students Performing at Our Annual Christmas Party
Students Performing at Our Annual Christmas Party
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Jessica (in the middle) with some of our students
Jessica (in the middle) with some of our students

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued support to our prevention programs in Thailand! In July of this year, Jessica LeGault, a SOLD supporter, spent a month volunteering at our Resource Center in Thailand. Jessica led a few art activities at the Resource Center and helped decorate the buildings. On one Saturday after English class, the kids helped repaint and decorate the original building at the Resource Center, which now serves as the library. One of our university students painted the tree (pictured below) and the kids had a wonderful time getting paint everywhere. 

Once she came back to the United States, Jessica wrote a reflection piece about her time on the ground.

Jessica states, "There is a deep passion in each of the staff members at The SOLD Project, a fire that drives them to care for these kids in remarkable ways. You can see this fire in the eyes of the kids that come after school each day as they look up at the staff with so much respect. You can feel this fire in the hands of the younger ones as they cling tightly to your arm, knowing that they are safe here; they are protected." 

We hope you'll take a moment to read her full reflection [which can be found here].

Your gifts are allowing our students access to a safe place - a place where they can go to have fun and learn with staff who will protect them. Thank you so much for continuing to disrupt child exploitation in Thailand through prevention. 

With hope and gratitude,
The SOLD Project Team 

A student decorating the tree
A student decorating the tree
Jessica and some of our staff
Jessica and some of our staff
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Students and staff in front of our second building
Students and staff in front of our second building

Dear Friends,

2015 has been an exciting year so far. In the last project report, we shared Win’s story [a SOLD scholarship student who graduated from University and joined the SOLD team]. We are truly amazed at how much of an impact our prevention programs have on our students and the community as a whole. Thank you for making our prevention programs accessible to our students and the surrounding villages.

Your generosity has inspired our students to want to make the community a better place. Not only have we had a graduated student come back to join the SOLD team, we currently have an active SOLD scholarship recipient on our team. This summer, one of our students, Yai*, is interning with us at our Resource Center. Yai is starting her first year at University this fall. She will be studying Social Work and has a desire to help others and give back to her community. Yai is helping our staff plan activities for the primary age students as well as learn about the day-to-day operations on the ground. It makes us so excited to see our students giving back to SOLD and to the community.

Without your support, the Resource Center would not be what it is today – a safe place where our students can come for resources, mentorship, counseling, and tutoring. Without these programs at the Resource Center, Yai might have ended up on a different path. We are extremely proud of her accomplishments and cannot wait to see her start University. We are thankful for all of your support in creating a space where our students and staff can thrive in.

With hope and gratitude,

Alaynah Fiedler 

*Name has been changed to protect the anonymity of the student.

Photo of Yai
Photo of Yai
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Win in his Pineapple Field
Win in his Pineapple Field

Dear friends,

 

Thank you so much for all of your continued support for our prevention work in Thailand, The FREEDOM Project. It's been truly amazing to see the impact of prevention come full circle. Earlier this year we hired our first graduate: Win. Win grew up undocumented in a rural part of Northern Thailand. In High School, he applied for a scholarship from SOLD to study in law school. His dream was to help people like him - undocumented and without citizenship - to know their legal rights. Six years later, Win graduated with a Law Degree and with citizenship! Only a few months ago The SOLD Project offered him a job on our scholarship team. His role as Mentor and Legal Advisory has allowed us to facilitate workshops for undocumented students in our program, educating them on their rights, and beginning to carve the road towards citizenship for them. 

 

Statistically, Win was very at risk of being exploited. Lack of citizenship means that no government is aware of you - or protecting you. This is a traffickers dream - you are trafficking someone that legally does not exist. We are so thankful that Win had the courage to pursue his dreams and the vision to bring his talents back to the community he was born in. 

 

This is the impact your support is having. Lives are changing, And those lives are having a ripple effect. 

 

We asked Win to share a few thoughts with you, here is what he has to say:

 

Can you tell us a bit about what your role here at SOLD will be?

Primarily, I will help conduct home visits, follow up with students, be a part of the mentorship program, and help P’Gade with the 3-3-5 prevention program. I also will try to help the students and others in the village navigate legal issues surrounding getting Thai citizenship. For example, we have one scholarship student who has no citizenship, only some documents allowing her to stay in Thailand. She wants to be a tour guide, but doesn’t know if she can get the tourist guide certification, so my role is to find out details about how to make this possible, give recommendations, and advise her. 

Are there any specific goals you have in mind?

Because I focus on law, in working here, I really want to center my efforts on helping students & parents communicate with government officials about their citizenship rights and requirements. I want to try to find out who has citizenship and who doesn’t. And I want to get more training and study the law more deeply, especially around citizenship issues, to find ways to help them get citizenship.

How big is this problem?

On an individual level, it's devastating. It really weighs you down, makes you feel sad, depressed, hopeless when you don't have citizenship. You always think, "Why don’t I have opportunities like other people? What did I do that I don't deserve an equal chance?" You just feel constrained and stuck because there's so many things you cannot do. As an example, one scholarship student is a runner, and he’s studying at Rajabhat University. He wants to be a Physical Education teacher, but he doesn’t have citizenship, without which he cannot get a degree and cannot teach. He's trying hard to get it. If you can't get citizenship, you just feel like you don’t have a purpose in life. If you can't pursue your dreams, it makes you want to quit. You feel like you have no hope, no confidence, no choices, and your worth is not equal to others. If you have none of these things, how can you focus on what you really want to be? 

On a macro level, I estimate in Chiang Rai alone, there are more than 100,000 people in this situation.

How do you think your experience will serve you in this position?

I hope that the example of my own life can provide a good role model for the younger students and inspire others to fight to improve their lives. And I will try my best to help them as much as I can.

What do you think is the biggest challenge?

The hardest part about this job is that I'm the first one here to do it. I have no model to follow and no advisor to ask for help. Any time a new situation comes up, I just have to wing it, and make it up as I go. The other challenge comes when the students don't do much to help themselves. If they don't fight for themselves, there's not much I can do to help them.

What do you do when things get difficult?

I just think to myself, "If we don’t do anything, nothing will change. If you don’t try, everything will be the same. But if you try to move even just a little bit, even if you don’t know the result, that means you are changing something." That gives me hope that I can make things better.

What do you do to relax?

I like to drink coffee and read books. I also go check out my pineapple farm to see if it’s getting bigger. I get so happy about my pineapple farm--especially when I tried to sell my pineapples and I actually got money for them! 

 

Thank you so much for all of your support to help change not only Win's life, but the lives that he will continue to influence. We are incredibly grateful for your partnership and support. 

 

With hope,

 

Rachel Goble

A Citizenship Rights Class Facilitated by Win
A Citizenship Rights Class Facilitated by Win
Student Graduation in Chiang Rai
Student Graduation in Chiang Rai
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Playing games in the after school program
Playing games in the after school program

Dear Friends,

As 2014 comes to a close I’m feeling so grateful for another year of profoundly meaningful and impactful work with The SOLD Project. We continue to learn that prevention works! In a village where more than half of the young boys and girls used to drop out of grade school and were at high risk of sex trafficking, 84 of the 129 children in our scholarship program are now pursuing higher education—and 95% have stayed in school.
While our growth and success is encouraging, I continue to be most inspired by the stories of the children we work with. One of these stories is of fifteen year old Faa*, when she reminded me that prevention work is not a linear task: it requires walking alongside of our students as they face daily battles in their lives. Faa* has been receiving a scholarship from SOLD since 2008 and has been an active participant in our programs. Earlier this year her family forced her into a marriage with an older man - a marriage she did not want. With the support of The SOLD Project’s scholarship and counseling team, her family received the counseling and guidance needed to help Faa* stay on the path of education. 
Another story is of Fep*, one of our recent University graduates. When I first read Fep’s story – he grew up undocumented and the son of a drug dealer – I was moved to tears by his commitment to education as a means to help his people. Today, six years later, he has graduated with a law degree and received his citizenship. His dream is to practice law to bring justice to others in his similar situation. 
Meanwhile, the Resource Center has been an unbelievable success. The number of students regularly attending the after-school programs increased so much that we built a second building. This second building has a new classroom, a counseling center, a computer lab and larger office space for our growing Thai staff.We also welcomed four key Thai staff members including a counselor and after school program manager. 
Your contributions to The SOLD Project has affected the lives of an entire community and, with your help, the story of how prevention is breaking the cycle of poverty and freeing children from a future of exploitation continues to spread.
Thank you so much for continuing to support The FREEDOM Project's work to prevent child exploitation. 
Riding elephants
Riding elephants
Home visit in the community for one of our student
Home visit in the community for one of our student
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Organization Information

The Freedom Story (Formerly The SOLD Project)

Location: Oakland, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Rachel Goble
A. Muang Chiang Rai, Thailand
$197,171 raised of $235,000 goal
 
2,498 donations
$37,829 to go
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