We’ve been talking about strengthening relationships quite a bit lately. In July we introduced you to OASIS (Outreach and Special Intel Services), a new outreach initiative that enhances project transparency and leads to more effective teamwork with local law enforcement officials. New alliances with the authorities in neighboring Mae Hong Son Province have enabled exciting new opportunities for us to expand and grow as an organization.
We’ve spent some time learning about the social issues that lead to trafficking and exploitation in Mae Hong Son’s hill tribes – which largely comprise the Karen hill tribe. After reaching out to new schools and villages, we have found ourselves another step in the right direction towards shifting the culture of human trafficking.
In October, we encountered the first success of our new OASIS initiative! Four incredible girls joined our ever-growing family. In this spirit, we would like to introduce Chon, Ehrn, Fan, and Kaer:
At school Chon excels in math, but admits having to work really hard to do well in science, which is one of her weaker subjects. Still, she knows that both of these subjects are paramount to achieving her goal of becoming a doctor someday so that she can help others and help support her parents back home. While Chon appears quiet and reserved at the shelter, we’ve noticed that this veneer disappears whenever she’s playing with our younger girls or doing a creative activity with volunteers. We’re curious to see how her personality develops over the years in her new environment, and can’t wait to get this shy girl out of her shell!
Shortly after arriving at our shelter, Ehrn made quick work of becoming close with all of our younger girls, including New, May, Kaek, and Lee. Now she can almost always be found with one of them playing games, pestering our volunteers to use their iPads, finding creative ways to pass the long, hot hours on the weekends, and walking to and from school together. Of all the new aspects of staying with us, she was most excited about the opportunity to go to school, and is hoping that if she focuses on her English studies both in school at during our weekend English classes, she’ll have the opportunity to study abroad in the future. Music to our ears!
Like most of our girls, Fan loves to play volleyball in her free time, and can often be found playing a quick game (sans volleyball net of course) with a group of girls just before dinner. When asked what word sums her up, Fan is quick to respond with “diligent”, and hopes that this quality will help her succeed in school (we’re sure it will). We’re also sure that it will become handy in the future as she works to become a teacher in order to help other students learn. One interesting fact about Fan: she was born on April Fool’s Day!
When Kaer first arrived at our shelter, we asked her a bunch of questions to get to know her better. And what we found is that she is filled with lots of appreciation for the little things in life. For instance, her favorite sport is volleyball. Why? We asked. “Volleyball, because I can play it with all my friends”. Okay, what about favorite foods? “I love pomegranate, because the taste is so unique.” In school she enjoys art class. Why? “Because I love the freedom that comes with it”. Maybe that’s why she’d like to become an art teacher in the future. Finally, we asked her “So what do you like about COSA?” After thinking for a minute, she replied “I think it will give me a big chance to help my family and help me make new friends”. We’re hoping that we can do all that and more.