At the start of 2022, it’s a great time to take stock of where we are, and where we’re headed. This week, our CEO, Rachel Goble, is sharing some of her thoughts, helping to set our tone and intentions for this coming year.
Here is what she had to say:
What a strange few years this has been for our world. Political unrest, divisiveness, and a global pandemic have become ingredients in the recipe for a new culture that many of us couldn’t have seen coming. When we think of all the changes we’ve been through in the last few years – political, environmental, sheltering in place, weighing risks for the safety of ourselves and others while trying to find a healthy balance in life…it is a lot. But as we all hopefully know and see there is much to be celebrated as well. Households found new patterns as travel and social activities were scaled back. My partner and I started gardening and raising chickens and, two years in, this has become my meditative practice to connect with myself, nature, and God. I may not have found this love of gardening had it not been for a forced slowing down.
Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic – some more than others. In Thailand, our work with The Freedom Story is with the most vulnerable – individuals living on less than $2 per day, many of whom are stateless and many of whom do not have a strong family unit. It is in this work that I see most clearly the importance of having margin in our lives. What do I mean by margin? Margin could be time in the day to rest, or a savings account to get through a hard season. For those that we work with, margin is a privilege that many do not have. This makes the impact of Covid-19 that much more difficult for individuals living day to day in unpredictable circumstances.
In many ways, this is the work of The Freedom Story. To offer support and resources to children and their families who are at risk of trafficking and exploitation to help ease the burden of lack of margin. This of course takes on many forms – whether it’s financial assistance for schooling, food to put on the table when income is lost due to Covid, or offering trainings on safe migration and citizenship acquisition.
At the beginning of Covid we pivoted our programs significantly to meet the social distancing requirements as well as the changing landscape of trafficking as things moved more online. We are excited to take these successes and apply them to our programs in the coming year.
In 2022 we have goals for the following:
- We want to continue the expansion of our programs in Chiang Rai and Nan through local partners to reach even more vulnerable children.
- In 2022 we have the opportunity to bring together all of our target populations (migrant workers, ethnic minorities, stateless individuals, and ethnic Thais), which have been served separately by different programs to be served by all three core programs. This integration will provide greater impact to vulnerable populations in Northern Thailand.
- Research, data collection and management is an ongoing priority to set the foundation for our proven method of prevention.
- And we hope to continue to be an excellent employer to our staff, providing above average wages, time off and benefits which are crucial for self care.
Whether you’ve been walking this journey with us for 14 years or have recently joined The Freedom Story Community – thank you. We are able to do this work because of the many passionate people who are a part of it – from our board to our donors to our volunteers to our staff. We are grateful for you. Wishing you a wonderful 2022.