The Freedom Project: Prevention Through Education

by The Freedom Story (Formerly The SOLD Project)
Students leading a discussion
Students leading a discussion

Dear Friends,

It's a busy time for us at both of our Resource Centers in Thailand. Due to a school break from March to May, our staff has planed full days of programming during each day of the week. Your continued support allows us to offer extra hours of tutoring, math and English classes, and other games and learning exercises during this break, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful. It also enables us to host workshops and awareness activities for our students. These workshops are extremely important in educating the students on a variety of topics ranging from exploitation, to applying for college, to how to look for a job.

Online exploitation has been an area of focus for our Thai staff over the past year. Because of the prevalence of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, it’s important that students understand the risk involved in using them. This past month, our Awareness Director, Lux, invited students to come to the Bong Prae Resource Center for an Awareness workshop. The students watched the movie ‘Trust’, which tells the story of a girl who was using an online chat program to develop a relationship but was tricked by an older man who desired to exploit her. After the movie, Lux led discussions and activities around the same topic. One of our students “found this exercise to be really helpful because this topic is not covered in school” (Age 12).

In educating our students on these risks, we hope to better prepare them to recognize dangerous situations and protect themselves against this kind of exploitation.

Thank you for your continued support in helping us educate at-risk students to keep them free from exploitation and abuse!

Students leading a discussion
Students leading a discussion
Dear Friends,

I’m incredibly excited to share some great news with you. On January 2nd, 2017, we’re officially changing our name to -- drum roll please -- The Freedom Story

Why? 

We’re rebranding our entire organization to reflect the hope, dignity, and freedom that’s representative of our work. The SOLD Project, while not a bad name, isn’t a positive name nor does it reflect the reality we seek to bring about for those we serve. Having grown for several years and looking towards what we desire to accomplish in the years ahead, we want a brand that positively reflects the lives of the students and communities we serve as well as the hard work we all put into breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation. 

When? 

January 2nd, 2017. We’ll not only have a new name, but a new website, a new look, and a new feel.

What’s changing? 

While our look and name are changing, the substance of what we do (our work to prevent child trafficking and exploitation) remains the same. Of course, to adapt to the realities of a changing world, we’re always growing and changing. But the only drastic change this January will be our brand and name. 

What should I look forward to? 

Our new website. Our new logo. Our new name. Our new introduction film. The continuation of the important work we do to prevent child exploitation and trafficking. 

How can I help? 

Spread the word when we go live! We have an exciting campaign coming in February, and for it to be successful, we’ll need your help. So, please keep on the lookout for more ways to use your network to support the work of preventing child trafficking and exploitation. 

Thank you for being a part of the freedom story we’re telling! 

Best,
Rachel Goble
Win and some of the students at the Garden.
Win and some of the students at the Garden.

Dear Friends,

We do more than provide scholarships and resources for our at-risk students. With opportunities that expand their horizons, together with you, our faithful supporter, we empower them to dream.

Students who don’t have Thai citizenship aren’t allowed to travel outside of their home district, whether by car, bus or plane, unless they’re with a foundation or school. If they want to travel, they must apply for a short-term pass to show at police checkpoints.

A few weeks ago, our Thailand Mentorship Program Leader, Win, took some of our undocumented students on a 2-day trip to Chiang Mai. Thanks to our organizational status and Win’s planning, the trip was a success; the group toured Chiang Mai University, Queen Sirikit Botanica Garden, Doi Suthep, and spent a morning taking fun and silly selfies at the 3D Art Museum.

After the trip, one of our 8th-grade students told the staff, “This was a great experience to walk around Chiang Mai University. I am now able to dream about going to school there.”

Opportunities like this expand the horizons of our youth and encourage them to continue to pursue their education in-spite of obstacles that come from being undocumented. As we’ve shared in a previous project report, Win himself was undocumented but chose to follow his dream to go to law school, eventually receiving citizenship, and just this year passing his law exam in Bangkok. His success story is motivating for our scholarship students, and having his guidance and support continues to help them work hard to pursue their dreams.

We’re incredibly thankful to partner with you in bringing opportunities, such as the Chiang Mai trip, to our students.


With hope,

The SOLD Project Team

Our counselor, Lux, and the students on the bus.
Our counselor, Lux, and the students on the bus.
The group at the art museum.
The group at the art museum.
Staff and students being silly at the art museum.
Staff and students being silly at the art museum.
Academic counseling session at the City Center
Academic counseling session at the City Center

Dear Friends,

Our Resource and City Centers provide mentorship and resources to students who otherwise would have a difficult time navigating their educational paths, and their activities are vital to our students’ success.

Our centers provide numerous classes and events every month, from English classes to academic counseling sessions for our scholarship students. One of the highlights for our students this quarter was a cooking activity paired with an Academic Counseling session. Staff and students together made small blueberry cheesecakes and enjoyed eating them while socializing. Three University students attended to offer advice and support for our younger students. Staff asked the younger students what they wanted to study and which universities they wanted to attend. Then the staff and older students provided information on what university life is like, how to apply, study and take tests, and be successful. They talked about the lifestyle differences between high school, vocational school, and university. The staff then led a counseling based drawing activity broken into four parts. For the first picture, the kids were asked to draw a representation of themselves. Some of the responses were “wind because I feel free,” and “tree because I am strong and give protection to others.” For the next picture, they drew something they would want to do if they had no obstacles. Most of the answers involved traveling the world or studying abroad. The third picture they drew was the obstacle preventing them from achieving that goal, and most answered money or parents not understanding. The last picture they drew was their own strength. Some of the students answered they were strong mentally, or had to grow up fast, and were thus mature for their age. The activity was insightful for the students, helping them grow in the self-awareness and confidence they need to move forward into preparing for university.

Another exciting activity that has been taking place is our Basic Law for Youth Project. Win, a former student at The SOLD Project and now employed as our legal advisor (whom we wrote a project report on when he joined our team in 2015), realized he didn’t know a lot about crime or law as a child growing up in a small village. He decided to start a program to help other kids in small villages learn about the law at a young age. Win states, “my goal is that they will apply this knowledge to their daily life to help them make good decisions as well as understand their own rights as a child.”

Thank you so much for all of your support in helping us disrupt child exploitation through prevention. Your gifts provide us with the ability to hold important activities that ensure our students’ success.

With hope and gratitude,

The SOLD Project Team

Students eating their blueberry cheesecakes
Students eating their blueberry cheesecakes
Win teaching the Basic Law for Youth Project
Win teaching the Basic Law for Youth Project
Parent meeting day
Parent meeting day

Dear Friends,

During the past few months, both of our resource centers have been very busy due to March and April being summer break for our students. The beginning of a new semester in May also brought new scholarship students for The SOLD Project! The 20 new students that SOLD accepted into our program this year came out for a new student orientation in May. The new students watched the first documentary SOLD produced, learned the history of the organization and the details of their scholarships including expectations, processes, events, resources and activities.

Another exciting event that took place at the end of May was the parent meeting. Twice a year, all of our scholarship students and their families are invited to the Freedom Resource Center for a parent meeting. Here, the SOLD staff provides updates and information as well as hosts a workshop or speaker, collects letters and photos from the students for their sponsors. At the parent meeting, we also introduced new staff members to the students and parents, as well as a local police officer who came out to raise awareness of the dangers of online trafficking. Everyone enjoyed lunch together after the program. The afternoon was spent administering students surveys that were designed to measure their experiences with SOLD. The survey results will be a key and penultimate aspect of our first Social Impact Assessment — a detailed research project that SOLD began last year to measure our impact on the ground in Thailand.

Without you, our faithful supporters, the parent meetings, and The SOLD Project would not exist. We would also not be able to admit new students into our Scholarship program every year as the Freedom Project funds the resources for the scholarship students. Our students would be left on their own to navigate the obstacles that appear on the difficult road to higher education and success, especially when the road begins in poverty.

Thank you so much for making our work possible.

With hope,

Alaynah Fiedler 

Parent meeting day
Parent meeting day
A local police officer talking to everyone
A local police officer talking to everyone
Tawee, Founding Director, introducing new staff
Tawee, Founding Director, introducing new staff
Students taking the surveys
Students taking the surveys
 

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Organization Information

The Freedom Story (Formerly The SOLD Project)

Location: Oakland, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​thefreedomstory.org/​
Project Leader:
Rachel Goble
A. Muang Chiang Rai, Thailand
$118,154 raised of $159,000 goal
 
1,795 donations
$40,846 to go
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