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How One Student Went From Self-Harm to Empowerment
April 2, 2019

Meet Sakda*

A routine home visit revealed that 18 year old Sakda* who is both stateless and an orphan, was hurting himself and damaging his possessions as a way to deal with stress. He had been staying in his room alone, trying to control his emotions, struggling with his self-worth and refusing to go outside or spend time with friends.

Our counseling team took him to the hospital to meet with the psychologist who diagnosed him with both anxiety and depression as a result of the trauma he experienced as a child, and prescribed medicine. Sakda had limited understanding of mental health issues prior to his diagnosis, and was hesitant to take the medicine prescribed to him.

What Changed

Eventually, after speaking to two members of The Freedom Story staff who had personal experiences with depression, Sakda began to take medicine and began to feel better. When the side effects were impacting his life, The Freedom Story’s counseling team worked with him and his doctor to find the right medicine for him. Our staff also advocated for him to receive free healthcare, which he is not entitled to because he is stateless.

In the meantime, Sakda has also been attending weekly therapy sessions with The Freedom Story’s on-staff counselor, and has also been visited regularly by the on-staff social worker. His mentor has worked closely with him to encourage him to take care of himself, and has regularly picked him up to take him to the church they both attend.

The Hurdles

Because he missed so much school due to the symptoms of his depression, Sakda had to approach his teachers to ask to be re-admitted into the second year of high school. His mentor and The Freedom Story’s social worker went with him to advocate for him. While he was not readmitted into the program he was previously attending, The Freedom Story staff will work directly with him in the in-formal school program, which will allow him to work and study at the same time and finish within two years.

On the Road to Empowerment

While he is on school break, The Freedom Story has asked him to intern at their offices, learning business skills and helping with administrative tasks. A Freedom Story staff person who has struggled with depression is meeting with Sakda regularly to share his experience and mentor him through this difficult period. Meanwhile, he is excited to use the computers and resources at The Freedom Story two days a week while he is studying through the in-formal school program.

The Freedom Story’s holistic preventive approach ensures that students like Sakda receive help and treatment for any mental health, trauma or abuse they have experienced, so that they have the support they need to achieve their dreams. In this way, The Freedom Story ensures vulnerable students are not left behind, and trafficking of children is prevented.

*Name and photo have been changed to protect privacy.


If you want to help vulnerable children like Sakda, all you have to do is invest in our prevention programs–a powerful tool for you to help Sakda and his peers with the best chance they have to protect themselves from exploitation. Donate through this link at One Day’s Wages and help us reach our goal of $50,000, which goes straight to helping kids like Sakda live a life free from trafficking and exploitation!


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