In December 2009 our CEO, Nicky Mih, spent a month with more than 200 survivors in Cambodia, asking what they wanted and how we in Australia could help. They wanted to end sex slavery. They wanted for survivors to be able to attend university so that they could become teachers, doctors and lawyers as they viewed these professions as being fundamental in ending sex slavery. They also explained that when girls are rescued from the brothels the traffickers simply go out into the villages and take a new young girl. They wanted these girls to be protected. They believed that if these young girls were in school they would not be trafficked.
But we couldn’t find an organisation out in these rural villages specifically identifying these girls before the traffickers did. And so was born Free To Shine.
Only 80% of children in Cambodia enroll in primary school and only 26% enroll in secondary school. The rates are even lower in rural Cambodia and lower still for girls.
We had to figure out how to get into these villages, identify which girls were most at risk and how to get them in school and keep them there. Fast-forward and we are well on track to achieve our goal of 1,000 girls by June 2016.
We welcome you to be a part of this very special journey.