Natalie’s Story

Natalie“In my country, girls like me disappear into the sex trade and their story ends very differently.  I know Stella’s Voice and 100X saved my life.”

I grew up in the largest orphanage in Moldova.  When I was four, my mom became blind in an accident.  My grandmother looked after me for a while, but it was hard because she didn’t have a job.  When I was seven, she put me in the orphanage.  

Being in the orphanage was not fun.  I had no one.  No one ever told me that I was loved.  I had no hope, and wanted to give up on life.

At 16, we “graduate” and are kicked out of the orphanage.  When I turned 16, I would cry myself to sleep.  The orphanage wasn’t great, but it was all I had.  I was told about the risk of human trafficking, but without a place to go, I didn’t know how to avoid this risk.  I didn’t know who to ask for help.

A few days before I was put out, I was told about Stella’s House. I didn’t believe something like this existed for me—an orphan.  I couldn’t believe that I would be able to continue my studies and be a normal kid.  Stella’s House and 100X taught me about Christ by showing that they care for kids like me—they gave me a future when I didn’t have any hope and the family I’ve always wanted!  In my country, girls like me disappear into the sex trade and their story ends very differently.  I know Stella’s Voice and 100X saved my life.

You can help us reach more at-risk girls like Natalie.  Find out more.

*100X has partnered with Stella’s Voice in Moldova since 2006.

100X is invited to Participate in Anti-Slavery Day in the UK

Pictured L to R: Philip Cameron (Stella’s Voice), Mr. Anthony Steen (Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation), Rt Hon John Bercow (Speaker of the House of Commons), Mr. Peter Bone (Member of Parliament; Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking), Lindy Blanchard, and John Blanchard.

In 1833, the British Parliament abolished slavery in (most of) the British Empire via the Slavery Abolition Act.  Thirty-two years later, the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States.  According to our laws, both countries do not sanction slavery. We thought slavery was abolished in the 19th century, yet today there are tens of thousands of people enslaved in these two countries alone.

Frederick Douglas, a former slave and abolitionist said, “They would not call it slavery, but some other name. Slavery has been fruitful in giving herself names … and it will call itself by yet another name; and you and I and all of us had better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume, in what new skin this old snake will come forth.” He was right. Today we call it “human trafficking,” and once again, we must expose this practice and declare it unacceptable.

We are grateful that there are leaders in both the US and the United Kingdom that are working to protect victims and prevent children from being traded as commodities, and last week, we were privileged to stand beside some of them.

Just this past week, by invitation from the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Right Honorable John Bercow and Mr. Peter Bone, a Member of Parliament and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, 100X Founders John and Lindy Blanchard traveled to the UK to mark Anti-Slavery Day.  Over the course of two days, they attended the Parliamentarians Against Human Trafficking Conference and met with leaders from Parliament and the Council of Europe to discuss how we can leverage our resources and work together to end human trafficking across the globe.  It is evident that these leaders are committed to this fight, and we are honored to stand with them with great expectation of what is to come.

WHAT WE’RE DOING TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today—generating $31.6 billion annually.  Each year more than 1.5 million children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, and it is estimated that 99% are never rescued.  The innocence of childhood is exchanged for the profit of others.  This is a crime that knows no boundaries—whether geographic, ethnic, or socio-economic—but the most vulnerable are those who have no one to speak for them.  On five continents, we are working on the front lines to prevent children from falling victim to this horrific crime.

Protection and Empowerment. To date, we have partnered with nonprofits across the globe to build 31 houses for orphans and vulnerable children, and in 2011, more than 500 children were reached. Each of our programs provides a safe and loving home environment where children are able to complete their education and learn life skills that will provide the foundation for a hopeful and productive future.  Our work protects the most vulnerable children by providing access to caring adults, educational support, health care and job training.

We recognize that entrapment in human trafficking is often the result of poverty and lack of resources, so we have also established a consortium of university partners who are working with us to develop education and workforce development programs, as well as opportunities for continued education at the university level.

Education and Mobilization.  In a speech before the House of Commons in 1791, William Wilberforce stated, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.” We are committed to exposing the evil of human trafficking, and providing resources for those who choose not to look away. The criminal network working to ensure the continuation of this exploitation is strong, and complete abolition will require engagement at all levels—from students to heads of State.

5 WAYS YOU CAN HELP END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Blanchards Meet with President Joyce Banda of Malawi

With the critical needs of vulnerable children and families, the ongoing impacts of poverty and disease alongside the ever present challenges of human conflicts, the development sector needs to expand leveraged approaches.  Such approaches must maximize the value for money and multiply resources through collaboration, innovation and effective execution.  

– Lindy Blanchard

In February 2005, at the opening of Mtendere Village, 100X Development’s orphan care program in Malawi, John and Lindy Blanchard met then Minister for Gender and Community Services, Joyce Banda, for the first time. The past seven years have shown that the vision President Banda shared on that day – for the well-being and empowerment of women and children – was more than simple words. She has proven that she is dedicated to them, and is willing to leverage every resource available to her to help improve their circumstances. We are kindred spirits on this.

We were honored that President Banda extended an invitation for John and Lindy to meet with her last week while in New York for the UN General Assembly. During the meeting, they were able to share about the programs that 100X has established in Malawi and about our vision to expand programming to empower women and children for a more hopeful future. We look forward to the opportunity to work with President Banda to help the women and children of Malawi, and are excited to move forward and expand our outreach in the Warm Heart of Africa!

For additional press on this meeting, please visit the following websites: Nyasa Times, Malawi Democrat and MW Nation.

Media Contact: Kimberly Casey, Media@100XDevelopment.com or (202) 509-6005

IMPACT: From Dasa

We received the following letter from Dasa, and wanted to shared how your support has impacted this young girl’s life.  It is YOUR support allows us to reach children with stories similar to Dasa, so we believe this letter is for you as well.  Thank you for your partnership!

Dear 100X Development Team,

My name is Feodosia Rosca but everyone calls me Dasa Cameron.  When I was born, my father rejected me for not being a boy, and at two years of age, my mom abandoned me too.  I stayed in my uncle’s house for a few years, where his wife started each day by telling me that I was a mistake.  She would tell me that I was going to grow up and became “nothing” like my mom.

After a few years, my uncle sent me to the largest orphanage in Moldova, a place with 850 children—my “home” for the next seven years.  I hated the world.  I hated myself.  All I knew at that moment was that I wasn’t wanted, accepted or loved.

Being an orphan is not easy no matter where you are in the world, we all feel the same, we all have the same questions inside our hearts, we all share the same fears, and we all shared tears for years and years.  We have no hope.  When kids think of themselves as nothing, they never dare to dream.

In my country, when you turn 16 you have to leave the orphanage and manage in life on your own. Most of the kids never make it.  Life is so rough on us that most give up even before they start.  When you go into the world, everyone sees you as a thief, liar…you are the worst there can possibly be.

When my time came to leave the orphanage, I thought my life would end.  I had nowhere to go, but I am thankful to Jesus that he had a plan.  Through 100X’s partnership with Stella’s House, I was given a place to live.  I learned that Jesus is real, that he loves me like no one else, and that has a great plan for my life.  Most of all, I learned that I was not a mistake.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

I want to say thank you to 100X for giving me the opportunity and honor to study in America.  It means a lot that you believe in me—that you don’t look at me as an orphan.

I never dreamt when I was an orphan, but since I have Jesus in my heart, He has allowed me to dream…and dream big.  He took me from an orphanage school desk to a university in America.

100X, you are amazing.  You give kids like me hope; you take us in your arms and don’t let us go until you are sure we can fly on our own.  I want to say thank you for being His example on earth.

–Dasa Cameron

Will you give a gift today that will help us reach more children like Dasa?


A Spark of Hope

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.  Nelson Mandela

One of my most vivid memories is standing on a pier in Elmina, Ghana and looking into the eyes of a child slave.  I imagine the experience is similar to meeting a child that is entrenched in any abusive situation and does not believe there is any hope for the future.  Everything within me was urging me to take him and flee, but as I looked around it was evident that there were dozens more just like him.  At that moment, I felt as hopeless as he appeared.

I have also had the privilege of meeting survivors of both sex and labor trafficking, and while that does not remove the ache in my heart for the young boy in Ghana, it does renew my hope.  Each person that I have met has been in various stages of recovery—some so recently freed that they still bore physical marks of their abuse—but each has had, at minimum, a spark of hope in their eyes.  Proof that restoration is attainable.

At 100X, we are working hard to make sure that vulnerable children never experience the abuse of human trafficking.  We focus primarily on prevention because we’re aware of the harsh reality that 99% of victims are never rescued.

In the United States, it is estimated that a runaway (or homeless) youth is approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of living on the street.  One in three will be exploited for commercial sex.  The average age of entry into commercial sex?  13.

We also know that children that have been in the foster care system are especially vulnerable—both circumstantially and emotionally.  This is one of the reasons that we are so pleased to have Adullam House as one of our partner organizations.  Adullam House is a 100X partner whose mission is to care for children whose mothers are in prison.  Children at Adullam House are loved and protected—and they are taught that their life has purpose.  Very quickly, the vulnerability created by their past begins to lose ground, and they become less susceptible to recruitment by traffickers.

The vulnerability of youth is compounded in developing countries—especially for young orphans.  The children that we work with in Malawi, Peru, Mexico, India and Uganda face the same challenges as children in the US, but there are even less safeguards and fewer laws to protect them.  In many cases, law enforcement is corrupt and often contributes to the problem.  Exploitation begins at a younger age, and children are often forced across borders—away from all that is familiar.  The same is true in Moldova.

Our work in these countries aims to protect those that traffickers will target most.  In some cases, children have already been exploited before they enter our care.  This is where restoration takes place.  We believe that every child, regardless of past circumstances, has been created for a purpose and we are committed to providing the resources and education they need for a hopeful future.  Last year alone, we were able to protect more than 400 children.

Every child has the right to grow up without fear of exploitation and abuse.  Will you help us reach one more?

How YOU can help LEVERAGE…

Speak UpPost a message on Facebook or Twitter (mention @100XDevelopment or #100X and we’ll respond), send an email, or talk to your friends and co-workers. The more people who know about and support what we are doing directly impacts how much we are able to accomplish!

Givewe want to reach as many young girls as possible, and we cannot do it alone. You can make a donation, give up your birthday, run a marathon—be creative!  We’ve designed a Razoo page to help you get started.

Praypray for the children, for those working to help them, and for exposure of those who are exploiting them.

If you have questions, or want to run an idea by us, email our team at Leverage@100XDevelopment.com.

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager

What is your fight?

I was in my junior year of undergrad when I first watched the movie Hotel Rwanda—a movie that detailed the story of Paul Rusesabagina and his experience during the Rwandan genocide.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend a visit to your rental company of choice.

No matter how many times I view the movie, one scene stands out above all others.  The scene begins with Rusesabagina thanking Jack Daglish, a cameraman, for shooting footage of the massacre.

Rusesabagina: I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.  

Daglish: Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

Rusesabagina: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

Daglish: I think if people see this footage they’ll say, “oh my God that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.

I do not know if this conversation portrays an actual conversation between Rusesabagina and Nick Hughes (the man who shot the footage accredited to the fictional Daglish), or if it was scripted for cinematic purposes, but what I do know is that what was predicted came to pass.

In less than 100 days, while families in the US and other developed countries sat down for dinner, 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered.

The Rwandan Genocide is just one example.  Every day, we see evidence of suffering—whether it is walking by a homeless man on the street, viewing a 30 second clip on the evening news, or reading a blog like this one.  The enormity of it all is overwhelming.

  • 26,500 children die every day of preventable causes related to poverty (equivalent to 100 jetliners crashing)
  • 500,000 women die in childbirth every year – deaths that are largely preventable
  • 12.3 million people are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor
  • 163 million children are orphans

This constant bombardment is numbing and often causes us to say, “oh my, that is horrible,” and then go on living our lives.  We erroneously believe that because we cannot solve the entire problem, there is nothing for us to do.

I firmly believe that there are some battlefields that I am not called to fight on.  For example, if the issue involves environment or animal rights issues, please call someone else.  I don’t have the capacity.  That said, I also believe that everyone should pick a fight.  It will be different for everyone, but we all have something that should take us away from our dinners.

I recently met a man who spent several years of his young life as a house slave.  When he was 12 years old, someone intervened.  He was able to attend school for the first time.  Throughout his life, people continued to come alongside and support him.  He finished university, married and developed a successful career.  Today, this man and his wife have established an orphanage to care for similarly vulnerable children.  He has picked his fight.

At 100X we’ve seen similar stories with children like Andiseni and Galina, and our house mom Naomi. The people who intervened didn’t eliminate human trafficking or world hunger, but they did dramatically change one life.  That is what it takes.  If each of us will navigate our way through the deluge of statistics, pick our fight, and find the one life that we can influence, we will be able to press back against the darkness.

What is your fight?  If it is orphan care, education, human trafficking prevention, or health, we’d love for you to join us!

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager

Galina’s Story

“450,000 women have disappeared from my country [Moldova], and I or any other girl from Stella’s House could have been one of them.”  — Galina

As “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” comes to an end, we’d like to share a story of a life that was changed through the work of 100X and our partners–a story that we hope will remind you of the importance of this issue long after the month of January is over.

Galina is a real world example of what 100X is all about. Labeled an orphan with no hope of a future, Galina is now working to protect orphans and show them their true value. This is her story…

Hi, my name is Galina. My parents divorced when I was four years old and they split up the kids. I guess I wasn’t chosen by either parent. I was left with my grandmother. They never came to visit. They never called. They were just gone. I waited for a while but then I stopped waiting.

I never saw them again.

My grandmother was very ill and was not able to take care of me, so she put me in the orphanage. There, I was pretty much just a number. The teachers did not care about us, and everyone had to fight for their own life. Everything was old. The snow would leak inside the house. Even though we had electricity, we were afraid to use it because of the leaks. Our windows wouldn’t close properly, so we would put material over them to try to keep the cold air out. We had one fireplace for heat and we would make fires once or twice a week. We had no hot water or indoor bathrooms. We were forced to go outside and take a shower once a week.

There were twelve girls in my room, half of the beds on one side of the room and the other half on the other side. We didn’t have warm blankets, so we would sleep two girls in one bed to keep warm. We never had warm clothes or clothes to go to school in.

The worst part was we had to go to public school with the kids from the village who had families to take care of them. For us that was the hardest part. Everybody would make fun of us because they knew that nobody was there to stand up for us. Even the teachers thought of us that way. It didn’t matter how hard we put ourselves out there and studied, they didn’t give us good grades. For them, we were just orphans. They told us – “oh you will never be able to do anything because you are an orphan.” “You will end up washing doors for the rest of your life.” “There is no place for you in this world.” There was almost no point to live. It was hard not to lose hope.

The government cannot afford to run the orphanages in the summer, so they close them down and put the kids with extended family members. The kids that don’t have any family to take them are rented out to work for anyone who wants them. They are paid 80 cents a day. I started working during the summers when I was four years old. I had to weed gardens, feed chickens, and do any other jobs they would give me. No one ever came to check on us to make sure we were ok.

My life changed on December 25, 2003. On Christmas night, Philip Cameron and his family visited our orphanage, and they were the happiest people I had ever seen. We all asked each other, “do they know we’re orphans?” Philip and his family kept coming back, and they spent time telling us we were special and that God loved us. They spent time with us when no one else did. They gave us our first Christmas gifts, and celebrated our birthdays for the first time. They also created Stella’s House, a place for us to go when we had to leave the orphanage after we turned sixteen. More important than any of this, they gave us hope. Today, I’m a different person—God has healed me completely. Today, I’m able to help change the lives of others.

My story could have ended very differently. 450,000 women have disappeared from my country, and I or any other girl from Stella’s House could have been one of them. People around the world that cared enough to do something literally saved my life. God said in Matthew 25:40, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

At the age of 16, girls in Moldova “age out” of state run orphanages. They are given $30 and a bus ticket and sent back to their hometown. A lot of people who work in the orphanages sell information to human traffickers and tell them when an attractive girl is about to be released. On the day they leave, traffickers are there waiting for them. Most of the girls who are trafficked wind up as prostitutes, and often die from HIV/AIDS, drug overdoses, or they are murdered.

It is without question that many of the 450,000 women that Galina mentioned are victims of human trafficking. According to the U.S. State Department, “Moldova is a source and, to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking…Moldovan women are subjected to forced prostitution in Turkey, Russia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, the UAE, Kosovo, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Romania.”  With no where to go after they age out, orphaned children are highly vulnerable. Traffickers prey on this vulnerability, and children quickly disappear into this dark criminal enterprise where their value is measured solely on their contribution to the $32 billion market.

Will you give a gift today that will help us reach more girls like Galina?

*100X is a major supporter of Stella’s Voice, a nonprofit organization, and is working in partnership with them to protect orphans from human trafficking in Moldova.

Exposing Evil to Protect the Innocent

Human trafficking is an uncomfortable reality that many would prefer not to think about in America and other parts of the world.  I understand this discomfort, but I also believe that evil must be exposed.  It is for that reason, on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, I want to shine a spotlight on this terrible modern day exploitation of women and children.

Definition: Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery.  Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Fast Facts

  • An estimated 12.3 million men, women and children are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor around the world.
  • Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors.
  • Worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade.
  • Trafficking is estimated to be $32 billion industry—the second largest criminal enterprise (drugs is the first).

Trafficking is about supply and demand.  To meet the demand for young women who can be sold into slavery and prostitution, criminal networks (such as the mob) traffick young girls from poor Eastern European countries like Moldova, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine (“source” countries) to “destination” countries with higher demand.  With a promise of a better life and good jobs, girls are often deceived into crossing borders willingly.  When they arrive however, they are not brought to an office or a restaurant to work, but to a brothel.

We could talk at length about geopolitical, social, and economic factors, all of which are important, but anti-trafficking advocates have elevated a simple need in this fight—Awareness. As one advocate said recently, “Awareness is 80% of the solution.”  80% of the solution is exposing the evil that is happening right now and providing positive alternatives.

Every year 700-800 children are expelled from State-run orphanages in Moldova. Upon leaving, they are often only given a few dollars and a bus ticket to the town listed on their birth certificate.  They are alone, and have nowhere to go.  They are perfect victims for a trafficker to exploit for financial gain.

Six years ago, 100X developed a partnership with Stella’s Voice, an organization in Moldova working to protect at-risk orphans. Stella’s works to educate orphans about the dangers of trafficking and provides them with a safe home where they receive loving care and an education.  To date, 100X has built three homes and we have the capacity to house approximately 60 children at a time.  But we need to do so much more….

We know that approximately 99% of trafficking victims are never rescued, so preventing children from becoming victims is the first step in ending this travesty.  To reach more children, we’re in the process of building another home in Moldova, one that will be focused on prevention as well as job training, education and providing a safe place for this vulnerable population.  Phillip Cameron, the founder of Stella’s Voice, has said that he never again wants to be limited by lack of space, and I am in firm agreement.  But we cannot do this alone!

Will you help us protect one more?

What you can do
Speak Up—post a message on Facebook or Twitter, send an email, talk to your co-workers and legislators.
Give—we want to reach as many young girls as possible, and we cannot do it alone.
Pray—pray for the girls, for those working to help them, and for exposure of those who are exploiting them.

12.3 million is a daunting number, but what if you could rescue one?  To quote Edmund Burke, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

–John Blanchard, Co-Founder and President of the Board of Directors

100X Charity Golf Classic

You Don’t Want to Miss This!

The 100X Charity Golf Classic is a day long event at the Wynlakes Golf & Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama, that will combine a round of golf with the opportunity to change the course of a child’s future.  100% of the funds raised will be allocated for 100X’s orphan care and education programs—specifically a school bus for orphans and vulnerable children at Mtendere Village in Malawi and a home in Moldova that will provide shelter and education for young girls at-risk for human trafficking.

Schedule of Events

Monday, November 21, 2011

7:00 am Range Opens for Sponsor’s Tournament

8:00 am Sponsor’s Tournament Shotgun Start

11:00 am Range Opens for Player’s Tournament

1:00 pm Player’s Tournament Shotgun Start

Closest to the Pin #4.  Long Drive #16.  Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  Sponsor’s prizes will be awarded at lunch; player’s will be awarded following the afternoon round.  Breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided.

Course Info

Golf at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club offers an experience that is exciting and challenging. The 200 acre championship course winds through rolling hills, 14 shimmering lakes and large oaks with dangling moss. Beautifully manicured fairways and greens, colorful landscaping, and strategically placed fountains and bridges make each hole a splendid visual experience.

The golf course, designed by world renowned architect Joe Lee, opened in 1986 and was renovated by Billy Fuller and re-opened in 2006. Diverse course design features such as sculptured fairways, plentiful bunkers, and plateau greens enhance the challenge. Multiple sets of tees offer players of all abilities an enjoyable round.

Join Us!

$10,000 Sponsor’s Tournament (4 man team)

$2,000 Players Tournament (4 man team)

If you would like to sponsor a hole or play in the tournament, please email Dana Blanchard at DBlanchard@100XDevelopment.com or call (334) 387-1178.

If you’re not able to join us, but would still like to give towards this cause, please visit our giving site!

Approved Plan for the new Stella’s House