Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pressing On

We were made to grow, to change, to be more than we were the day before. Being conformed to the image of Christ looks like forward motion. It's so important to be proactive and creative in how we serve others. I've seen that here as people develop programs that are flourishing in the middle of darkness.

Darkness wants chaos and separation that breaks down communities. Light restores order and connects people in meaningful ways. I love how Love146 is partnering with the local church. We saw the extremely vulnerable positions so many people are in, and how they are flourishing in ways that are sustainable; families are taking ownership in education and providing for their family's needs through business endeavors. You can visit Love146's website to see the specific projects that they are working on in Asia prevention.

Such as:

• Children at Risk Transformation Project: Kone Kmeng focuses on reducing the vulnerability of children in communities by providing resources, consultation, and encouragement to local churches. This includes funding, monitoring, and consulting on specific projects aimed to better the community and reduce risk for children. It also includes conducting training on child protection and assisting partners in setting up a child protection policy.

• Save the Children Project: This project works with a local pastor to educate children with the end goal of reintegrating them into the public school system.  Further, by providing a dormitory for students, this project reduces the risk of trafficking as children travel the long distance between their homes and school.  Workshops are conducted for parents that address child labor, domestic violence, displacement of families, drug abuse and addiction, and health issues.  Kone Kmeng also provides micro-loans to families for the purpose of creating micro-enterprises and establishing livelihoods, thus reducing the vulnerability of children to trafficking.

Trafficking effects the most vulnerable people within communities. Chaos, confusion and poor communication opens up opportunities for those most vulnerable to be exploited. These programs teach that children are valuable and worth protecting. They provide alternatives from the sex industry that so many are forced into from lack of education and opportunity. Communities that are built up and strengthened through relationships, education, and opportunity are less likely to fall prey to those with ill-intentions. One of my favorite things was listening to young teenagers explain art work that they had done that showed what they wanted to do as a career when they get out of school. They had goals to aim for. They were excited and also had realistic expectations. It was beautiful. It was also beautiful to see a grandmother who has been able to sustain a business selling pigs to provide for her family, joke around with the program director about her recently dyed black hair. What a small luxury for someone who has taken such care of her family to be able to enjoy.

I love how there's nothing static about Love146's prevention. They are constantly researching, engaging and networking with others to find the best ways to protect children. Seeing these programs in action was incredibly motivating. Community leaders and law enforcement are coming alongside and supporting them. People's lives were being rewritten. Their stories don't have to end in defeat. The obstacles that these communities face are huge, yet they still press on.  There's such hope.

1 comment:

Issakainen said...

Been so sweet to follow you... anxious to talk on the phone. Love you.