I don’t bake much, but when I do it’s usually at Christmas.
I follow one of my grandmother’s most cherished recipes: her incredible, red velvet chocolate cake. It’s hard work to get it right, but it’s worth it because of all the memories that come flooding back with that first bite.
While baking makes many of us think of the past, girls trapped in Thailand’s sex industry are eager to learn to bake so they can look to a brighter future.
That’s one of the reasons World Help is working to build a baking school in Pattaya, Thailand. This school will give young women the opportunity to gain job skills they can use to find work outside of the red-light district.
They will be able to find employment in places like restaurants, cafés, and hotel bakeries. But their future can’t start until this baking school is complete — and we are still $21,000 short.
Today is International Women’s Day, and I can’t help but think what we could do together to reach this goal and transform lives if we each gave just $10! What better way to commemorate this day dedicated to the equal treatment of women than by fighting for girls who feel they have no choice but to sell their bodies?
Will you make a small $10 gift to help empower one woman with vocational training?
Let me tell you why that $10 bill in your wallet right now is so important to helping these girls discover freedom from sexual slavery.
Poverty robs women of choices
In Thailand, there is incredible cultural pressure for women to financially support their families … and that often includes extended family. One woman may be taking care of her mother, brother, grandmother, as well as her own children. I’ve met girls who were trying to bear the financial responsibility for up to 11 people in their household.
This burden makes young women desperate for work, especially those who grew up in poor, rural villages and could not afford to go to school.
They are often lured to cities like Pattaya by the prospect of job opportunities. Once they arrive, however, they often find their lack of education leaves them with one choice — working in the city’s booming, red-light district.
As our partner in Thailand often says, “Poverty is the pimp.”
Every night thousands of girls in Pattaya sell their bodies so their families can survive. They’ve always felt like the sex industry was their only option. Until now.
The opportunity to learn a valuable trade at the new baking school will open up a world of possibilities for them to pursue.
Baking can make all the difference
Baking is cutting edge in Thailand. Most people don’t have ovens in their homes. But cafés are becoming trendy, and baked goods are in high demand … which means trained bakers are in high demand, too.
Sopa know this, and she is hoping that baking will soon become her ticket out of poverty.
Sopa, whose name I’ve changed to protect her privacy, never received an education. Her family struggled in a Thai slum, and she was expected to find a job in order to provide.
“In the poor areas,” our partner explained, “there are extremely poor schools. So even if someone has academic potential, they don’t understand or know it. [Sopa] is one of those.”
At age 17, Sopa — like so many girls who work in the bars — was out of options.
Then, she was introduced to a Freedom Home … and to baking. Sopa was able to live in a safe, family environment away from the pressures of the slum and the red-light district. She is attending a good school and has even discovered an exciting new hobby.
One of the staff taught Sopa and the other girls at the home how to make banana muffins. Sopa fell in love with the process and with the way she could make people happy with her culinary creations.
Every day, she comes home from school and asks if she can bake something.
But in order to turn this hobby into a promising career, Sopa needs formal training — training that you can provide to girls like her by giving $10 today to help complete the baking school in Thailand.
TODAY is the perfect day to empower women
Since today is International Women’s Day, your gift will carry an even more special significance.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, fighting for gender balance in the workplace and beyond.
Today, you can help create that balance by allowing a woman to pursue a career in baking. Because YOU chose to get involved, she will be able to find a job she loves … or maybe even become an entrepreneur and start her own bakery!
I’ll never forget my first trip to Thailand to visit with girls trapped in sexual slavery. I was shocked to see women standing up in from of dozens of men with numbers pinned to their clothing. They were literally being sold like animals.
Will you fight for the right of these women to live as the empowered human beings God created them to be?
Sex shouldn’t be for sale, and neither should a girl’s self-worth.
Here in America, I had the freedom to dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up. But in Thailand, so many girls have zero choice. That isn’t fair. But you can make a positive difference.
For just $10, you can help provide job training. For just $10, you can help empower a girl with education. For just $10, you can help introduce her to freedom, dignity, and her self-esteem. Imagine how many girls could experience freedom if we all gave $10.
Much like baking my grandmother’s special cake, helping provide freedom for one girl takes planning, patience, and a WHOLE lot of love. We can’t make this baking school happen without your help. YOU are the secret ingredient.
So, please give $10 to help create a little more balance in our world this International Women’s Day. On a day that’s all about uniting together, let’s join forces to free our sisters from poverty and sexual slavery.