The YALL Art Projet Begins at the DEPDC

Our first project has begun with the warmest welcome from both the staff and students at the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in Mae Sai,  Thailand.  The DEPDC is an amazing organization that has worked for 25 years to both prevent and protect children from human trafficking in Northern Thailand.  When we discovered the DEPDC in our research, we were moved by their mission and knew that we wanted to serve this community.  However, we could not have anticipated just how moved our hearts would be as we develop a real time connection with these amazing children, the extraordinary staff, and the reality behind their mission in this region.  In the Golden Triangle region where Thailand meets both Myanmar and Laos, many families are trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt, making the children particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and human trafficking.  As many as 10,000 children are "recruited" each year.  The DEPDC, through extensive research and practice, is dedicated to breaking this cycle that has become intricately and deceptively woven into so many facets of the cultural fabric in the area.  Upon reading through the compiled research, what stood out to us the most was that teaching vocational skills alone is not enough to prevent children from entering the cycle.  Along with vocational skills, the children must be armed with self- confidence. They must develop a sense within that they matter, that they are worthy, and that they are capable of creating the life they desire.  This struck a deep cord within us and only further strengthened why we want to do this project.  So our job now is to take that research very seriously, and nurture the vision and perspective of every single student.  While we are doing our best to learn the basics of the Thai language, we are very much up against a true language barrier.  But ultimately it has been a blessing in disguise because it has forced us to cut right to the heart of what matters.  The photographs the students have produced so far have truly impressed us so stay tuned for more updates as the project unfolds.

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