We’re excited to announce next week’s matching gift campaign with One Day’s Wages (ODW); a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. ODW promotes awareness, invites simple giving, and supports sustainable relief through partnerships, especially with smaller organizations in developing regions.
Beginning Monday, May 13th at 9:00AM P.S.T we will be raising funds for The SOLD Project’s Family Camps and Anti-Trafficking Awareness Programs. All donations will be matched up to $2,500.00.
The two-day camp offers parents and their children (primarily teens) the unique
opportunity to discuss points of conflict and collaborate together on solutions in a
supportive environment. Through culturally relevant group activities, families are offered
a structured place to intentionally connect with each other for, as many past participants
noted, the very first time.
Parents and children work together on communicating expectations and responding to
conflict in the Positive Discipline session. Speakers teach on how our behavior affects
others and the negative side effects of physical punishment. In the Breaking and Healing
session, the pattern of family violence and its seemingly endless cycle are explored. Both
parents and children are given the opportunity to discuss their family’s history, explore
what forgiveness may look like in their own homes, and brainstorm how they can each
help “step outside the cycle” of generational violence.
As ironic as it may seem in the sex capital of the world, sexuality is not discussed in a
Thai family structure, leaving children vulnerable in their lack of understanding about
their bodies and how to respond to touches from others that make them uncomfortable.
The consequences of little to no education in this area has disastrous, lifelong
consequences in Thailand when a lack of education and a need for income is coupled
with “opportunity” in the nearest city’s Red Light District. The camp’s anti-trafficking
portion discusses “body safety” with the children. From song-and-dance to role-playing
how to respond to uncomfortable scenarios to drawing body maps, the children are
equipped with an understanding about the individual rights they have.
We’ll be holding two camps (one in October 2013 and another in January 2014), each of which costs $2,500.00. Our hope is that at the end of this campaign we are able to cover the cost for both of these camps.
Between Monday, May 13th and Saturday, May 18th we’re asking you to donate one day’s worth of your wages. That amount will then be doubled, up to $2,500.00. 100% of your donation will be used towards Trafficking Awareness Family Camp.
Just one day’s worth of your wages will fund the awareness of a child at-risk. So please, plan ahead to give. And stay tuned – more information on HOW will go live on Monday morning.
Older generations like to bemoan younger generations for not being aware and not being involved, but we at The SOLD Project would like to show you that this isn’t always the case! We’d like to introduce you to some high schoolers who have taken it upon themselves to not only become informed about social issues, but to also form a club in which they raise funds and take time to educate their peers about the issues as well. The Girl Effect club, as they have dubbed themselves, recently became supporters of The SOLD Project. They are awesome and we are honored to have them in our corner. We hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them as well!
We’ve asked them to share a little about themselves, and here is what they’ve said:
What is the “Girl Effect” club? What are your missions and aims, and what are some things you do?
The Girl Effect Club is relatively new, only a few months old but it started when my friend [Rachel Ketola] and I [Kendall DeVries] noticed that there was a problem with the way that women are viewed around the world. The Girl Effect is an established movement that aims to leverage the potential of teen girls to change their social and economic dynamics by providing them with real, powerful and relevant resources. Rachel and I were very inspired by the movement and founded a club at our own high school to not only support women in developing countries, but to positively impact our peers. There is little acknowledgement of gender issues in our generation and we find many of our friends blatantly accepting degradation.
We also wanted to bring more awareness of prostitution, oppression in foreign countries, and the importance of education for girls around the world. Our mission for the Girl Effect club is to educate our school and community about women’s issues locally, nationally and globally. We have weekly meetings to discuss these issues and start each meeting with a TED Talk (they are awesome!!) oriented around women’s issues. By having both girls and boys in the club, we challenge common ideas about sexuality together and work to advocate empowerment for all. The ultimate mission is to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action, and ultimately, transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, can fulfill their potential.
We also educate our community by holding movie nights. The first movie our club showed was called Miss Representation. We had a great turn out and plan to show a documentary called Rape for Profit at the beginning of June to raise more money for the SOLD project!
How did you find out about The SOLD Project? What prompted you to get involved in fundraising for The SOLD Project? How was the money raised (and approximately how much)?
We found out about the SOLD Project the old fashioned way, by searching the Internet! We just wanted a small nonprofit that we knew would use the funds to benefit the cause, and your site and cause appealed to us! It was part of our initial plan to put together a fundraiser to benefit girl’s issues, and when we found you, we came up with our fundraising plan and went with it! We sold different color elastic hair bands. The school absolutely loved them, our slogan was “Educate a girl, Change her world, Buy a hair tie”. We sold for about two weeks, and raised about $160, I know it isn’t much, but we intend to fundraise more!
What are some specific things, if any, you’d like to see the money go towards, and how do you see it aligning with your club’s broader aims?
I asked the club members, and they all agreed that it would be cool if the money went to girl’s education, but really anything that benefits the kids would be just fine to us as well!
Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to help! I am very passionate about this subject and other social issues.
Thanks to the overwhelming contributions of our fabulous supporters, we’ve been able to break ground on a second building at The SOLD Project Resource Center!! This has been a dream of ours for a long time now, and finally, it is becoming reality.
In this new building, we will have:
- two new classrooms (including a computer lab)
- a meeting/counseling room, to conduct meetings with the kids’ families & other visitors
- office space
- small kitchen/cafe area
With this new building, it frees up space in the original building, where the downstairs area will be converted to a library space.
Exciting stuff!! We can’t wait to show you what it looks like when it’s finished!
Thank you again to all our fantastic friends and donors. This would not be possible without each and every one of you and your support!
The SOLD Project has made it onto Girl Effect Headlines! The Nike Foundation’s philanthropic site, The Girl Effect, frequently highlights organizations that are doing groundwork to help empower girls and raise up entire communities. We’ve just been featured!
You can check out the article here:
and then, please, spread the word!!
Happy Thai New Year from all of us at The SOLD Project!
We at The SOLD Project are always inspired when young people take initiative and find ways to use the resources they have to make a difference. Sarah Desatnick is one such impassioned individual. As a Girl Scout, Desatnick is driven to demonstrate her leadership abilities and desires to work in ways to help uplift local communities. She has chosen The SOLD Project as part of her aim in this endeavor. I’ll let her tell you, in her own words, why.
Living in the town of Basking Ridge New Jersey, where everyone has comfortable houses and plenty of food, it made my heart break hearing about these beautiful children in Thailand who have nothing. I did not, however, want to just sit here and feel sympathetic. I wanted to help them receive an education and achieve their goals. I wanted to be able to say I helped make a difference in someone’s life. The fact that one organization, the SOLD Project, can make such a great impact on one community is unbelievable. I want to be able to make that type of difference helping one child at a time. Plus, getting to work with such role models as Rachel Goble is just the cherry on top.
My older brother, who is currently 21 years old, has a very severe disability. This certain disability impacts his ability to walk and talk, and he been in and out of the hospital his whole life. He goes to a special school that is a Hospital and Education facility. He has the support of our family and the help from the nurses and doctors. It does not seem fair that we can provide my brother the help he needs while these healthy children in Thailand do not have the help and support to even get an education themselves. I want to help change that. I want those kids to reach for the stars and follow their dreams.
Each pencil, backpack, or notebook I collect is one more step to giving a child a better education. With all the supplies that are donated, I will package them into the backpacks. Each child’s backpack will include pencils, notebooks, pens, and binders. My goal is to help as many of the children in these villages as I can. The SOLD Project, with help from others, is making a tremendous difference. I want to do all I can to support the SOLD Project and the great work they are doing.
Sarah, your work is invaluable and it is inspiring to see a young person such as you get involved in helping to improve the lives of our fellow human beings. Thank you!
When Zoey, one of our volunteers, mentioned last July how quickly the kids participated in her activities, it first caught my attention. As the year progressed, I began to see more and more how lively and free the kids were becoming, but it wasn’t until the Christmas party–when a quiet 17-year-old sang two songs in English by herself in front of a crowd of 200 people, and a 15-year-old with an obvious medical condition led several dances front and center, and when a young boy whose parents often let him know how little they care made friends with all the Singaporeans–that it struck me how much the kids have grown in confidence in the past two years. Where they were two years ago is like night & day compared to where they are now.
When I first started teaching at SOLD, I had all kinds of academic goals for the kids (based on ideas born of my own experience growing up in the U.S. and the requirements for success we tell our young, middle class, educated kids). Those plans quickly fell apart when I realized some of the basics I had taken for granted in my sheltered life were not so basic for these kids. Like the courage to try. Even an activity as basic as coloring was daunting to many of these kids who were terrified of doing anything, for fear of doing it wrong.
I started to realize that before I could teach them that holy grail of “critical thinking” I had to teach them something more basic: to believe in themselves. To believe they are worthwhile and that they can do things worthwhile. I have a theory, you see. I have a theory that in order to teach them life skills, I need to first teach them that, as human beings, they are worth having skills. Because why do we teach “critical thinking” in the first place, if not so kids can use that skill of analysis to protect themselves later in life? So that when a politician sells them an unbelievable story, they’ll have better instincts. So that when a trafficker comes to call, they’ll know this person is not their friend. We can’t tell them what to say and do in every situation life will confront them with. But we can arm them enough to be careful where they place their trust and to learn to ask questions, instead of following blindly. We teach it to help them protect themselves – but first they must believe they are worth protecting.
Last year went a long way towards building their confidence. This year, I’m continuing with that theme in their education this year, teaching them life skills that might be useful, but that also helps them see their self-worth and value as individuals and human beings, with the hope that if they learn to value themselves, they will be less likely to let themselves get into trouble. We’ll cover things like: how to maintain body health & hygiene, how to cultivate healthy relationships (both with family and significant others), healthy and honest ways to manage conflict in a relationship, and even one for our boys on what it means to be a man.
But before we begin with such heady topics, we started with one on self-esteem. We started with a trust exercise – you know the one where people pair up and you have to let yourself fall backward and trust the other person will catch you? We did that one. The kids were giggling and having a ton of fun, but it was challenging too, and it was obvious who had a harder time trusting. We had them take note of what went through their heads: how it seemed hard or impossible at first, but they had to control their fear, and once they did, they could do it. We said that’s like any challenge in life: your brain might tell you that you can’t, but if you can control your thoughts, you’ll find all kinds of things you can do. But just like how you had to trust the person behind you, you have to create a relationship of trust with yourself, to know that you can do it.
I think they got the picture, and the trust exercise seemed to be a good way to show them viscerally what we were talking about. We made lists of things they liked about themselves (with some kids, this part seemed like I’d given them a tough exam they hadn’t prepared for, for all the hard thinking they were doing), and lists of things that made them happy. We sang songs (Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All), and made a rubber band chain, with each link in the chain representing something that made them happy. We told them to add a link each time something happened to make them happy, and one day it could grow quite long, and if there comes a day when they don’t feel good about themselves, they can look back at their happy chain and remember all the things that made them happy.
Then we finished with a showing of the movie Brave. We popped popcorn for them, and they had a grand ol’ time. At the end, we asked them a few questions about what they noticed in the movie. One answer they gave was that they loved the relationship between the mother and daughter best, and they liked how the mother and daughter were able to solve their problems by taking the time to understand each other.
They’re smart cookies, these kids.
– Jade Keller
Education Program Manager