Education for girls and young women is one of the most effective tools to prevent human trafficking. Education increases girls’ self–awareness and economic prospects thereby reducing their risks of being trafficked. Our academic scholarships provide long-term educational opportunities to girls residing in trafficking hotspots along the Vietnam-Cambodia border who are at risk of dropping out to school.
The costs involved fo families living in these impoverished, remote and porous regions to send their children to school make it difficult for children to regularly attend or to complete the whole academic year. For many households living in poverty, children’s labor is much more valuable than school attendance and the long-term benefit of education is not perceived as outweighing short-term economic losses.
Those facing the highest risk of being trafficked are young girls, ages 13-18, from families living in poverty with 1) a woman as the main wage earner, 2) guardian who is disabled or has a long-term illness, 3) and/or multiple young women who are unemployed or have dropped out of school.
What We Provide
Pacific Links Foundation's comprehensive support covers:
> Individual-level support: Long-term academic scholarships (effective until she graduates the 12th grade) that include tuition & fees, school supplies, books, uniforms, and health insurance
> Family-level support & activities: Scholarship Ceremonies; individualized Home Visits; Family Day events at the school for family, faculty, and community members; and annual Summer Camp student gatherings
> Community-level support: Effective dissemination of culturally appropriate and locally relevant information regarding human trafficking and safe migration, especially to those living in remote and rural areas
Scholarship ceremony: The scholarship ceremony recognizes the involement of students, their parents, governmental officials, and donors with the scholarship program for human trafficking prevention.
Home visits: Home visits are conductd to update information about the student's family life, economic circumstance and potential obstacles to finish schoolwork. During the visits, we also provide information about the risks of human trafficking and how education is one of the most effective ways to counter trafficking. An average visit lasts 30 minutes, some lasting as long as 1 hour.
Family days: Family Day gathers recipients, their families, and community members to learn more about the risks of human trafficking and reinforces the preventative role of education.
Bicycle delivery: Many students live far from school, about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) or more. In Vietnam, a student will typically make four trips (go to school, come home for lunch, go back to school, go home). Typically to go to school, students borrow bicycles from their relatives or neighbors, ride with friends, or go on foot. The inconvenience and time consuming nature of going to school led some of the recipients' siblings to drop our of school as soon as they went to high school (located much furthr than middle school).
A bicycle means a shorter commute to school and more time to study, decreasing barriers to attend classes thus a huge encouragement to continue going to school.
Summer camps: Summer Camp is an opportunity for scholarship recipients to increase self-confidence, life skills, and career exploration while reinforcing the importance of education in safeguarding themselves from human trafficking.
PALS tracks the progress of each scholarship recipient through frequent communication with teachers and regular family visits, which allows us to develop early intervention strategies where needed.
We have provided 6,2000+ scholarships and 700+ bicycles to 1,400+ middle & high school students in 30+ communities in the poorest border regions of Vietnam. 200 students have graduated high school since 2005. 38% of the high school graduates from the 2014-2015 academic school year entered universities.
Thanks to these efforts, our annual dropout is 11%.