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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
A new classroom under construction!
A new classroom under construction!

Dear friends,

I live next door to a school in Oakland that has sat dormant for most of the summer. Last week, it began to buzz with preparations for the new school year. Teachers are setting up classrooms, kids are shopping for school supplies, and parents are both mourning and celebrating the last few days of summer. All in all, change is in the air, and it's exciting.

For our students in Thailand—whose school year started months ago—the experience is so similar and yet so different. They spend their summer months at The FREEDOM Resource Center in art classes, English camps, and whatever else our creative staff can think of to fill their days with fun and learning. Their parents know that our Resource Center is not only a positive place of learning and mentorship for their kids, but it is also a safe place. Safety is an immeasurable value for our at-risk kids.

But today the Resource Center is busting at the seams. We are in need of a second classroom as a dedicated location for our important after-school tutoring program. This allows our first classroom to continue to be a vibrant community center and program headquarters while allowing a separate, more focused space for the vital learning programs we offer.

This new classroom will provide:

  • Two new classrooms, including a dedicated computer lab
  • Spaces for private meetings and counseling sessions
  • A small kitchen/cafe area
  • Secure storage for student information
  • An office for on-site staff

We broke ground on the building this spring, but due to a substantial (30%) increase in Thailand's minimum wage earlier this year, which we proudly support, the cost of labor and materials has gone up considerably. Will you help us finish this project this year?

The opportunity to learn makes all the difference to these kids. Thank you!

With gratitude and hope,

Rachel Goble

P.S. — GlobalGiving is hosting it's first-ever Fundraiser Campaign all through September. Raise $500 from 10 people to qualify for prizes (like airline tickets)—and help a lot of kids in the process! Start your fundraiser.

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23 students celebrate their graduation
23 students celebrate their graduation

Hello friends!

It's been an incredible spring for The SOLD Project, and we're excited to share three reasons why:

1) 23 students graduated in March

Even more exciting, ALL of them plan to continue their studiesIn a region where nearly half of all students drop out before middle school, these students’ accomplishments are amazing. Thank you for investing in their dreams and making this celebration possible!

2) We broke ground on a 2nd classroom

We've been raising funds for this much-needed building for some time, and Phase 1 is finally under construction! With 140 students in our scholarship program now and more and more children and community members taking advantage of after school programs, workshops, and weekend classes at our Resource Center, the new space will make a huge difference and allow us to invite even more children and families to participate in The Freedom Project.

3) GlobalGiving is giving away money

On Wednesday, June 12, every gift you make to The SOLD Project on GlobalGiving will be matched at 50 percent. That means your $20 gift magically becomes $30, your $50 gift magically becomes $75, and your $1,000 gift magically becomes $1,500! Matching begins at 9 a.m. EDT and lasts until funds run out.

There's more to share, but that's enough excitement for one day. : )

Thank you for believing in us and giving so generously to support our mission. Your investments are changing an entire community, and we couldn't be more proud to partner with you.

With hope,

Michael

Celebration
Celebration
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We won the 2nd annual Girl Effect Challenge!
We won the 2nd annual Girl Effect Challenge!

Hi friends!

2012 had a spectacular finish and 2013 is off to an amazing start. We’ve admitted 20 new students already this year and the Resource Center continues to hum with daily activity.

It's been nearly five years since we began working in northern Thailand to prevent child sexual exploitation through education, and it's so encouraging to see how far we've come.

One of the students in our program, now in college, returns every Saturday morning to teach computer classes to the younger students. Another university student helps lead our Saturday afternoon English classes. These kids, once at risk of being exploited themselves, are not only pursuing higher education, but are actively giving back to their community as role models and teachers!

This week, we’re scheduled to break ground on the new water tower many of you helped fund last year, and hope to begin construction on a (much needed!) second classroom building in early March.

Also, as you may have noticed, the results are in and it's official: YOU'RE THE BEST SUPPORTERS EVER!! The SOLD Project is part of The Girl Effect for 2013. :)

Here's what you accomplished:

  • 660 of you combined your resources and gave more than $18,000, enough all by itself to fund all our current educational programs in Thailand for more than four entire months!
  • Your generosity blew away the competition and The SOLD Project finished the Girl Effect Challenge in FIRST PLACE! This means that from now until November 30, 2013, our work will receive 8.3% (one twelfth) of all donations to The Girl Effect Fund. Since winning the challenge, SOLD has already received an additional $9,478.96 from the Girl Effect Fund!
  • You also elevated The SOLD Project to Superstar status on GlobalGiving! This means that we're now and forever considered a top-tier organization, making us eligible for corporate matching gifts, additional exposure, and other perks.

You've made us extremely happy and incredibly proud. Your continued outpouring of support means the world to us—and makes all the difference in the lives of the children we serve together in Thailand.

THANK YOU!!! We're lucky to have you on our team, and couldn't be more excited for the year ahead.

With hope,

Michael

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You start the Girl Effect
You start the Girl Effect

With less than four days left in The Girl Effect Challenge, I have to begin with a huge THANK YOU! Your generous gifts in support of our work have kept The SOLD Project at the very top of the running all month!

However, the competition is getting fierce! Just last night we were overtaken and slipped from among the top six Finalist positions. Help us secure our spot as a Finalist!

Right now, we need at least 30 new people to give $10 to reclaim our spot—and, as of this writing, we're just sixty $10 gifts out of first place. All of your gifts have already been counted, so for purposes of this challenge there's no need for you to give again (unless you really want to, of course). Instead, please continue to reach out to friends and family to invite them to give $10, too!

Post to Facebook and Twitter, pick up the phone, or send an email. It could be as simple as this:

"An organization I really care about called The SOLD Project is really close to winning The Girl Effect Challenge right now and they need your help. To win, they need as many people as possible to give just $10 before the end of November. I've already given, so I was hoping you would join me. Your simple $10 gift helps them secure a potential grant worth more than $30,000 to help educate at-risk children in Thailand and prevent child prostitution. Click here to give $10. Thanks for helping out!"

Regardless of the outcome, we're so grateful to have you on our team. Already, you've given enough to provide educational resources to ALL of the kids in our program for a full two months!

So, here's to you! You give us confidence that we can do this.

With gratitude (and in suspense),

Michael

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Last week, we received an exciting update from Blah Chermui, our Scholarship Manager in Thailand: eight of our girl students have passed their entrance exams and are going to high school!

For this particular region, that's unprecedented. To put it in perspective, five of these girls graduated from Bong Phrae, a local village grade school that, until now, had never had a girl go on to high school. Not one. And this year alone there were five!

All of these girls have overcome incredible odds: A culture that doesn't place a high value on education and places an even lower value on girls; Parents that are divorced, indebted, abusive, alcoholic, imprisoned, or absent; Generations of poverty.

"It is hard because the teacher at the school not really encourage and support them to go to high school," Blah explains. "Because they thought that high school is only for someone who has very good GPA or study hard. And they think that their own students can not do it—that they are not good enough. There are very few of the parents, too, who really know how to encourage, how to introduce, explain, and help their own kid to make plan for education. They not really think about how important it is during the time they graduate, before or after."

We've known many of these girls since they were just 11 or 12 and we have always believed in their potential to become what they dream of: teachers, dentists, nurses, accountants, and so much more. It's a dream come true for us to see them go for it.

As she was facing graduation and the decision to go to high school, one of our students, with wisdom beyond her years, wrote, "The foundation of our future is education. Even if we have little money, the knowledge we have gained stays with us forever. We may be given opportunities, but to make our dreams come true also requires discipline and hard work. I also dream that one day, with a lot of hard work, my dreams will become reality. I hope to continue working hard in my studies and make good choices for my future. […] Happiness doesn't mean getting ahead at the cost of those around us, but helping one another find that joy together."

We couldn't agree more. These girls are the first of a new generation of leaders and we are so, so proud of them.

Thanks to your support, incredible changes are taking place in these villages in northern Thailand. This is nothing less than the "girl effect" in action. Which is why we're honored and thrilled that this project has been selected to compete in the annual Girl Effect GlobalGiving Challenge this November.

From November 1st to 30th, we'll be competing for a year-long spot as a part of the Girl Effect Fund. At the end of the month, the six organizations with the highest number of unique donors will win. This would be huge for us, both financially and in terms of international exposure. And we'll need your help to pull it off. Our goal is to invite 1000 people to give even just $10 during the month of November. And to invite them to invite others. Outrageous? Maybe. But as Blah would say, "We just need help and need to work together. TOGETHER WE CAN DO."

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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
$197,131 raised of $235,000 goal
 
2,496 donations
$37,869 to go
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