A partnership to empower, improve and protect
Poverty. Abandonment. Fear. Sexual Exploitation. These are the daily horrors faced by many girls, some as young as nine years old, in the indigent border regions of Vietnam. In these impoverished and remote regions plagued by high unemployment and limited economic opportunities, young girls and women face the highest risk of being trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation.
In response to this appalling reality, An Giang/Dong Thap Alliance for the Prevention of Trafficking (ADAPT), a project of the Pacific Links Foundation (PALS) was established in an effort to prevent the sex trafficking of young Vietnamese girls and women by enhancing their education and by expanding and improving their vocational choices through a web of support services.
Our International Giving Program
As part of our commitment to be a source of good in the communities in which we live and work, we established a partnership with PALS and their Counter-Trafficking Initiatives in 2007. Since then we have financially supported nearly one-third of their scholarship recipients.
The program is offered to the most vulnerable girls along the Vietnam-Cambodia border, including:
- Those from single parent families
- Those from families with a member suffering from a long-term, serious illness
- Girls who are the first born in their family and who are in the high-risk age bracket of 12 to 19
The scholarship program offers a rare chance for these girls to pursue an education that is a unique collaboration with school staff, local authorities and agencies. Through the program, tuition, uniforms, books and supplies, and after-school tutoring are provided to these young girls at no cost. Other components of the program include:
- Providing bicycles for getting to and from school — something that may ordinarily sound simple except public transportation is non-existent in these regions and therefore, a bicycle can mean the difference between getting an education or not.
- “Family Day” gatherings for the girls and their parents or guardians, teachers and other community members to learn about good parenting skills and the risks of human trafficking. In addition, these “Family Days” are an opportunity to individually check in with each scholarship recipient and her family, offering continued encouragement to the girls and an opportunity to reiterate to her parents the value of investing in their daughter’s future.
- A four-week English language program is offered to scholarship recipients. Vietnamese-American volunteers teach the course. Transportation costs and other materials are covered by the program.
By providing these young girls in Vietnam with education and awareness, the goal is to guide them away from a life of danger and humiliation and instead, give them an opportunity, a sense of security and a renewed sense of self-confidence.