Freedom’s Responsibility

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Thai boysIn Northern Thailand, there is an incredible group of people who have inspired our Hero Holiday program to partner with them to help to make a difference in the world in which they find themselves. The organization is a combination of children’s homes, drop-in centres to combat trafficking, as well as outreach programs and therapy. Every day we spend with them is always an adventure, and along the way, we find ourselves in the company of unsung heroes that have impacted us beyond words.ThaiworkIn our North American culture, we are often lulled to sleep as we are over-stimulated with drama and sensationalism. We create our own romantic view of what the world must be like and we have a hard time grasping that our form of justice is not the justice that the rest of the world is measured by. We claim to believe that every child has the right to safety, freedom, and to be heard, yet our world often leaves the majority of our children living in fear, abandonment, exploitation and silence…is this what justice is? On our Thailand Hero Holiday trips, the children that we work with have faced all forms of exploitation, poverty and abandonment, and yet the thing that continues to captivate all of us is their Catchincredible capacity to love beyond that. The simple act of holding a small hand in trust can make all the difference in the world. The simple beauty of a smile and loving touch can change everything. My goodness, we have even learned that ice cream can change the world! Yet, despite all of these simple things, the problems that they face are beyond complex – they are astronomically overwhelming! Exploitation and slavery is so deep and multi-tentacled that it is hard to figure out where one problem stops and another one starts. Poverty would seem like it is so straightforward, but it is an insatiable beast that is continually devouring innocent lives around the world, and without us recognizing how late the hour is, it will never be stopped.GirlIn the world these children come from, life is unstable on every front: the good guys often turn out to the bad guys, the police take a vow to serve and protect, and then follow through with that vow by owning the brothels and trafficking agencies that exploit the women and children, and most of the population is unaware of what is happening in front of their eyes. Yet, in the midst of this, we work among a company of heroes: bright lights in the darkness that fight at this monster day after day, week after week, month after month. Every life saved makes it worth it, every hope restored is precious, and every life that is given reprieve from the pain and continual oppression is valuable. Kru Nam is one of those bright lights that has inspired us as we work alongside what she is endeavoring to accomplish with her team. Together, from the ground up, they have grown from one woman walking into brothels and stealing children out of slavery to a small, but bright light that is opening the door for others to be courageous. This is what it is to dream of what freedom can look like.Thai work2Kru Nam is a painter with a university degree in art and she has decided to use her natural gifts to bring healing. She originally hit the streets in Chiang Mai, handing over paint brushes to street children as a form of therapy, but she quickly realized that as they painted, their paintings were telling horrific stories of abuse, exploitation, and slavery. Within a short time, she realized that most of these children on the streets were not even from Thailand, but from the surrounding countries and tribes. Most of these children had escaped from the brothels in that city, and had already been victimized. Realizing that this problem was more than a regional problem, Kru Nam set out to move to the border crossing where these children are often brought through after they are sold,(often with the help of the police and other “trusted” authorities). It is here that she has set up a frontlines search and rescue operation, and it is here where hope can start to bring healing for these children.Hero Holiday helps at one of the homes that is a part of this program, as we build shelter and help make the space livable, run English and sports camps with the children, and allow our hearts to open and our eyes to see what can be done to bring them help. We will be working in Thailand from March 9-21. We will leave Canada as Canadians, but return as Canadians with an urgency to make a difference and to shine a light on the dark evils of exploitation.HouseIn the beginning of one or our Hero Holiday promo videos, we have a quote by Bob Dylan that says, “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom”. This quote has been ringing in my ears as we continue to meet people who are risking much to do whatever they can. We are working with volunteers and staff who willingly give up all for the sake of a child’s life, and for the sake of their safety. It is humbling and beautiful to be a part of, and it is the reality of the double edged sword that action requires when you want to make a difference.This year, LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is hoping to raise enough money to help Kru Nam and her staff build a laundry facility, as well as continue to add to their housing. If you would like to be a part of helping to provide for that project, please  contact us at the address below or donate online.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) Leadership Development (866) 432-4464Donate Link

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 1st, 2009