While I was in Thailand, I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people, doing amazing work in southeast Asia. I thought you should know about at least one.
Karen Smith is director of the New Life Center Foundation, an organization that works with children – particularly girls – who are being trafficked into child labor or prostitution. I had the opportunity to have dinner with her, and she told us some incredible stories. Like the one about a 9-year-old orphan from Burma, who had to go live with her aunt and uncle in Thailand. Unable to afford her upkeep they sent her to work at a local restaurant, washing dishes. Because she couldn’t speak the language and was virtually untraceable, the restaurant owner eventually forced her into prostitution. Today, safe at the New Life Center Foundation, she is speaking Thai, and going to school.
PBS did a feature on NLC as well, that gives you a better idea how the program works.
But the really good news is that last year NLC received a large grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. So be encouraged that in the midst of political scandal and financial bailouts, your tax dollars also funded a faith-based organization making a significant difference in the world. I think that’s all kinds of good news.