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Here’s what “Freedom” looks like

July 1, 2011

PreventionSince SOLD began in 2007 with the gift of an educational scholarship to an at-risk girl named “Cat” living in rural Thailand, SOLD’s prevention work has grown to include so much more than educational scholarships. Let us tell you a story…

THE FREEDOM PROJECTMeet Malee

Malee is 10 years old. She wants to be a scientist when she grows up, but she lives in rural northern Thailand and the harsh reality of poverty has already defined her future. Her parents are rice farmers and, like so many, cannot afford to send their children to school past grade 6. Malee, in all likelihood, will drop out of school next year and set out on her own to find work in the cities where undereducated rural girls and boys are easily lured into the sex industry. Malee is at risk.

SCHOLARSHIP

Fortunately, Malee received an educational scholarship (pdf) through The SOLD Project and, thanks to the support of her sponsor, she is able to stay in school. Malee’s sponsor gives $31/mo., and 100 percent of this money goes directly towards Malee’s personal education fund. Malee’s scholarship has dramatically reduced her vulnerability to exploitation, but scholarship is only one part of SOLD’s holistic prevention program, The Freedom Project.

RESOURCES

The Freedom Project (pdf) is built on the knowledge that prevention also requires resources. We want to provide Malee with the knowledge, skills, and support structure she needs to make good choices and achieve success on her own. If Malee wants to pursue her dream of becoming a scientist, she’ll need to attend high school and university—and pass the rigorous entrance exams. Unfortunately, without access to additional resources, Malee’s grade school education will leave her unprepared. Few grade school students in northern Thailand graduate with a working grasp of the English language. Many remain computer illiterate. They know what they want to be when they grow up, but they have no idea how to get there.

Our goal isn’t simply to keep children like Malee in school, but to ensure that the education they receive truly prepares them for life. So, as soon as Malee is accepted into SOLD’s scholarship program, she is encouraged to take advantage of the resources available to her at SOLD’s nearby Resource Center.

Photos from The Resource CenterTHE RESOURCE CENTER

SOLD’s Resource Center is the hub of The Freedom Project. Situated right in the middle of the village where Malee and most of our other students live, the Resource Center offers daily after-school programs that include tutoring, educational games, and access to computer software and the Internet. Students attend weekly English classes to learn the language skills they need to be a part of a competitive workforce in a globalized economy. Our Thai staff mentors Malee, teaching her what it will take for her to pursue a career in science, and meet with her parents so they can support her dreams, too.

Throughout the year, special programs and workshops are hosted at the Resource Center, teaching students skills such as creative writing, photography, and how to write a resume. Other events are for the whole family, including Human Trafficking Awareness programs, birthday parties, and parent meetings.

FREEDOM SPONSORSFunding Freedom | $16/mo -- 100 percent goes to prevention

The Freedom Project and all the resources it provides to our scholarship students, their families, and the community, is funded by donors to our Stand 4 Freedom campaign.

Freedom Sponsors commit to give $4/week to “Stand 4 Freedom,” and 100 percent of their donation helps provide sustainable funding for SOLD’s prevention programs. To most people, $16/mo. is a couple lattes or a movie in 3D, but to children like Malee, it makes all the difference in the world. With time, financial support, and encouragement, we are confident that students like Malee can escape exploitation and achieve their dreams.

Malee dreams of becoming a scientist. Now, for the first time in her life, she actually has a shot. And every time her smile lights up the Resource Center, we’re grateful for people like you who stand with us—and with her—for freedom.

Stand 4 Freedom | Give NowWe need your help. Right now, there are about 70 Freedom Sponsors supporting SOLD’s prevention programs, and we’re so grateful for them! However, to keep pace with growth, we need 180 new Freedom Sponsors by the end of the year. Will you be one of them?

Give $4/week & Stand 4 Freedom | donate onlineClick here to become a Freedom Sponsor

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