Last year brought a lot of growth and positive development for us at The Freedom Story! Here are just a few of the highlights to celebrate from 2019:
- Human Rights
We have programming dedicated to teaching students, their parents, and members of the community about a variety of rights: including legal rights, children’s rights to body privacy, etc. and how to better advocate for themselves. The usefulness of our program has spread by word of mouth, allowing us to reach other communities, so that our human rights program has been accessed over 3,600 times just in 2019 alone.
- Child Protection
The number mentioned above includes teaching over 460 students our 3-3-5 curriculum, which uses play-based techniques to teach children how to identify, report, and prevent child abuse. This gets at the heart of trafficking prevention: teaching kids to be aware of people who might exploit them and to know what to do if it should ever happen to them or someone they know.
- Mentorship and Relationship Building
We provided over 2,400 hours of mentorship and resources to at-risk students this year. This kind of relationship building is critical to staff becoming the people kids might turn to when they really need help and have no where else they feel comfortable going.
Highlights Behind the Numbers
The measurable successes are a lot to be proud of already, but they don’t tell the whole story. There are people behind those numbers, individual stories that show just how meaningful this impact really is. Here are just a few of the highlights from last year:
- During a training for at-risk girls conducted by our human rights team, one of our youth leaders shared her personal experience using an online chatting app and her decision to stop using that app when a foreigner invited her to his home. Her testimony is a powerful statement to her peers about how close the danger really is, and the fact that this young girl shared her experience unprompted demonstrates her sincere desire to empower others to protect themselves.
- One of our students, age 14, was often left home alone several days a week, as his mother had passed away years ago, and his father has substance abuse issues, leaving him with unsteady income. After weekly home visits from our team, the father has made an incredible change, decreasing his substance abuse, cleaning the house, and cooking for his child, so now they share meals together and talk with each other more. This leads to much more stability for the child, and hopefully, much better chance of thriving.
- After participating in a training on organic farming for increased income in 2018, community members are sharing their newfound knowledge with others. They formed a community based enterprise in order to better advocate for their products and earn supplemental income, and membership has doubled. It’s a promising start for local empowerment!
Of course, when we celebrate these successes, we celebrate YOU too! Our donors and supporters are really the guardian angels and fairy godmothers and fairy godfathers making all this happen. You’re the magic behind the scenes, quietly but consistently showing up, giving our staff the foundation from which to support vulnerable children and be the change in their lives to help them on the path to greater freedom and empowerment. This is your success too! THANK YOU.