Pacific Links Foundation

Photo courtesy of Pacific Links Foundation

When Pacific Links Foundation’s president and co-founder Diep Vuong was 16, she thought she would die at sea. Crammed in a small boat, as a refugee from Vietnam, she had little hope for a better life. But that changed and in 2001 Diep co-founded Pacific Links Foundation, working with others who risked their lives to thrive. Driven by leaders who experienced extreme vulnerability, Pacific Links Foundation wants to create a safer world for all.

Pacific Links Foundation works throughout Vietnam and in destination countries across Asia and Europe, delivering innovative programs to prevent modern slavery. Input from at-risk youth and trafficking survivors guided the organization to focus on self-awareness, self-study, and competencies. The goal is to build 21st-century skills such as digital fluency, visual literacy, and English proficiency. Programs include access to education and workforce readiness for at-risk youth; awareness training and leadership building for factory/migrant workers; PAXU, a mobile app promoting workers’ well-being and growth; reintegration services for trafficking survivors; and capacity-building for frontline responders. The organization has helped hundreds of thousands of participants build a brighter future. For example, Pacific Links Foundation’s commitment has reduced at-risk youth’s school dropout rates (six per cent versus Vietnam’s national average of 17 per cent). Students from disadvantaged families have even received scholarships to attend prestigious universities.  

Photo courtesy of Pacific Links Foundation

The deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry in Essex, UK, in October 2019 is a reminder that modern slavery is alive and well. Today, rampant fake news and false job promises lure unsuspecting workers into the hands of traffickers. Driven by the desire for a better life, migrants pay upwards of €50,000 for their risky, undocumented journeys to Europe.

Giving better alternatives for economic opportunities is critical in the fight to prevent modern slavery. False narratives from traffickers must be countered with reliable information so people can make informed decisions. Thuy*, a migrant worker, shared what she learned about assessing job offers. “Before, I never gave it [insurance costs and employment benefits] much thought. Other workers are the same. They only care about their current income without thinking about their future or retirement plans.”

For 20 years, Pacific Links Foundation has touched the lives of more than 150,000 people, including Mai*, a trafficking survivor.

Mai* was tricked by her friend and sold to a family in China at age 15. She gave birth to a baby girl and was then sold to work in a factory. When Mai had the opportunity to escape, she made the agonizing choice to leave her newborn behind. Mai also managed to rescue a neighbour who was in the same situation.

Mai’s dream is to become a doctor. She lived in Pacific Links Foundation’s reintegration shelter for three years and earned top marks in high school. She is currently a thriving third-year university student, well on her way to medical school.

As it did with Mai, Pacific Links Foundation creates opportunities for each beneficiary to reach their full potential. They encourage everyone to invest in themselves.

Mai has thanked the foundation for believing in her. With your help, the organization can make a difference and end modern slavery.

How to Help

http://pacificlinks.raisely.com/

Cook2Give Challenge

Cooking brings people together, especially at this time of the year. It is in the spirit of giving that we cook. Help transform the lives of youth and trafficking survivors: http://pacificlinks.raisely.com/. Through December 31, 2021, double your impact (up to US$25,000 matching pool). Or simply donate at https://pacificlinks.org/donate/.

Volunteer

Become an online English tutor or life skills/career exploration workshop presenter: https://pacificlinks.org/volunteer

*Names changed to protect confidentiality

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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