I’ve just visited one of the projects your money supports through Freedom Ticket for Life; Children on the Edge’s project in Mae Sot in Thailand on the border with Burma.
Burma has been under military rule for many years and different ethnic groups have been under attack ever since (the military is literally trying to destroy them). Whole villages have been wiped out and civilians murdered. Arefugee camp we went to has been there over twenty years and houses more than 20,000 people waiting (most of them for years) to be moved and placed in another country. We also saw a clinic where mine victims were being fitted with prosthetic limbs.
As you can imagine, situations of such turmoil result in many children being orphaned and many more being sent by families unaccompanied across the border for safety. This makes them very vulnerable to being trafficked.
The projects you support through Freedom Ticket for Lif e are a children’s crisis centre and an attached school that give girls and boys the chance for a safe place to live, recover, receive counselling and get an education.
When we arrived the place was in working order but one wall was desperately in need of repair, the toilets weren’t finished and the courtyard was nothing but dirt and rubble.
Amazingly, right before our eyes and because of your money, materials arrived and work began! By the end of our visit, the building was complete and the transformation wonderful. Young girls now have somewhere clean, safe and sanitary to learn, develop and grow into a life with more hope and opportunity. Without you, this would not have been possible.
Thirty–seven girls and a similar number of boys are cared for and schooled by these two linked projects. Many children are very sad and traumatised but the staff are amazing, very caring and committed. About ten percent of the children have been trafficked and the rest would be extremely vulnerable to trafficking if they were not at the Children’s Crisis Centre.
While we were there, we and people from Give Way to Freedom who are working with us on this project, ran an art therapy session. The children were given T-shirts and encouraged to draw something on them which made them happy. One girl drew an orchid, she said her family grew them in Burma and she drew orchids when ever she missed them. Another boy drew a picture of mountains and his parents waving goodbye.
We asked them what freedom meant to them. Many children replied that it was to be free from control and able to go to school. One child said ‘freedom is when people help you to escape and give you an education’. We believe that too and that’s why the donations to Freedom Ticket for Life are so precious, they enable trafficked children to be free.
To do your bit and find out more go to www.freedomticketforlife.org
Phil Lane, STOP THE TRAFFIK Belguim.