December 2nd marked the UN’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. It’s a grim subject and can be a difficult conversation to have, but the fact is that today people all over the world, mostly women and children, remain in chains. Because of the seriousness of this enduring problem, we at DEPDC/GMS feel that this topic can’t be shied away from, so we’d like to take this chance to talk about the problem and what we’re doing to address it.
While the cruel principles of slavery remain the same, it’s no longer the ostentatious business that it was in the past. Today, slavery takes place in the factories and shops that produce the goods we buy every day, and in the brothels and bathhouses to which many are driven in search of a way to survive. Many of us know that this goes on, we all deplore it, and we’re proud to say that 25 years ago our founder, Khun Sompop, realized the way to beat it and built DEPDC/GMS to do just that.
Prevention is the key: getting to at-risk persons (mostly women and children, but also men) and giving them the tools and empowerment they need to lead independent lives before they become ensnared. At DEPDC/GMS, that means finding children from disadvantaged backgrounds and making sure that they have lessons to learn, skills to gain, meals to eat and safety to enjoy while they grow to be strong, self-sufficient people. We’re proud to say that over the last 25 years, the program begun by Khun Sompop and supported by the hard work of our staff and the generosity of people like you has enabled us to help thousands of kids and change their lives for the better.
Beyond that, we’ve had the privilege to work with dozens of young people from throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion who came to the HDS for the 5 years of the Mekong Youth Net program to be trained as youth leaders. Many have since returned to their homes in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, China, Cambodia and Vietnam to create their own programs and begin the next generation of slavery prevention programs in South-East Asia. Bit by bit, child by child, never giving up and always growing, that’s how we do it, that’s how we win, and we can do it if we work together.
We’re proud of the children and the strength and courage they show every day. We’re proud of our staff for the tireless work that they do and the immeasurable benefit that it produces. And we’re deeply grateful to people like you, without whose solidarity, support and ongoing engagement we couldn’t have come this far nor done as much. Your help means more than you know.
If you’d like to help us and the kids continue to grow and make a difference in the Greater Mekong Subregion, please visit our GlobalGiving donations page here to pick which of our programs you’d like to contribute to, like our sustainable agriculture project or our lunch program. Or if you’re even considering getting more directly involved and volunteering, please don’t hesitate to visit the volunteer information page on our blog and get in touch. We always love having more members in our international family. Thank you for reading and for keeping up with what’s going on at DEPDC/GMS.