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

We asked, they answered. Q&A with child sponsors. Part II.

In our last blog, we introduced you to two veteran child sponsors who have walked alongside 100X for many years.  Here, we would like you to meet some of our newest sponsors, and see how they are already making a great impact!

Jamie and his family began sponsoring Kizito and William six months ago, after he and his son volunteered at Mtendere in July.

What inspired you to become a sponsor? Meeting and spending time with the children at Mtendere, and seeing how successful Mtendere has been in changing children’s lives.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? Saving a child that would otherwise be in jeopardy, educating a human being, and inspiring them to reach for greatness.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? Knowing that a child is being saved from an otherwise destitute existence with little hope.

How have you involved your family in this experience? My son and I travelled to Mtendere this summer to spend a week working at the orphanage; although she did not visit with us this summer, my wife is the one that insisted that we sponsor two children. Now, our other children want to visit and work at Mtendere.

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? If not for sponsors, these children don’t stand a chance; for $40 a month, you can educate, house and feed an orphan.

Teri began sponsoring Petro three months ago after traveling to Malawi with Karen (previous post) through Kusewera.

What inspired you to become a sponsor? Smiles. Each and every child in the village has a story that our hearts cannot comprehend…and each child’s smile resonates nothing but love and appreciation for the good they are now able to see, feel, and share. It is beautiful.

How do you see child sponsorship benefiting your sponsored child? The money will ensure Petro has school supplies, clothing, sufficient bedding, and toiletries. The love being given him through personal notes, concern for his well-being, and having another “safe” adult who he is able to trust is the best benefit of all and one that he will hopefully cherish as he grows.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? Being a sponsor means that I have the ability to directly and positively impact another human being without disrupting their culture and way of life. It is a simple way to say thank you for the genuine love felt in each little hand that held mine, the personal drawing one of the children took time to create, and the unbelievable beauty of their voices in song that will live with me forever .

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? $40 per month ~ I make coffee at home and bring my lunch to work. I smile when I write the check to 100X, because I have seen with my own two eyes what a difference they are making in the lives of these children.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? The worst day I had last month ended with an envelope from 100X, filled with school papers from Petro. It became my best day.

Will you join us? For more information, please visit our child sponsorship page, or email Dana at DBlanchard@100XDevelopment.com.

We asked, they answered. Q&A with child sponsors. Part I.

We asked, they answered. Here is your opportunity to hear from some of our veteran child sponsors. We could not do this work without them!

Julie and Darrel have been sponsors through 100X for eight years. Their sponsored child, Ronald, is “one of the family.”

What inspired you to become a sponsor? We wanted to do more with our money to help others.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? We have developed a strong bond with Ronald that makes him feel like one of our own.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? It’s like having another member of the family.

How have you involved your family in this experience? My children and Ronald regularly exchange notes and pictures.

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? The feeling you get when your sponsor child appreciates your involvement and communicates that to you. It feels good seeing them so appreciative.

Karen fell in love with the children at Mtendere Village after a trip to Malawi in 2008.  She has sponsored Stanley since 2009.

What inspired you to become a sponsor? I wanted to contribute financially to a child that I connected with at Mtendere. A year after I met Stanley, he became available for sponsorship and I grabbed the opportunity, since I knew I was meant to be his sponsor.

What does child sponsorship mean to you? Child Sponsorship means that I have made a choice to have a child at Mtendere who depends on me, who knows I care, and knows that I love them. For me, it’s an extension of what God has done for me…to be able to give back, and share that with a child who needs it. I’m particularly close with Stanley, the child I sponsor, and have been blessed to visit him often, be in touch often and also encourage him in school, life, etc. It’s been more than I could have imagined and I love that my “son” is growing every day into a man that God wants him to be.

If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be? The financial commitment is so little compared to the huge difference that you will make in the child’s life. Knowing that you are helping with their daily needs is important, but having the connection to a real child, who really needs your assistance and really appreciates you is rewarding. I love knowing exactly who and where my monthly donation goes.

What is your favorite thing about being a child sponsor? I’ve probably said it several times over by now and there are too many favorites to pick just one…. I love connecting with a specific child, knowing their needs are being met…and I love getting to know them and them getting to know me.

Want to join the club? Visit our child sponsorship page, or email Dana at DBlanchard@100XDevelopment.com.

 

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

 

What does food mean to you?

Food.  noun, often attributive \ˈfüd\

1 (a): material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)

1 (b):  inorganic substances absorbed by plants in gaseous form or in water solution

2:  nutriment in solid form.

3:  something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies….

We first met Andiseni (pictured with Ben Blanchard) in 2005.  He was brought to Mtendere Village severely malnourished and close to death.  Like many children in Malawi, he was a victim of the severe drought that destroyed vital crops throughout the country.

To Andiseni, food represented survival.

There has been a lot of discussion about food shortages and famine in recent months—images of children in the Horn of Africa, where more than 30,000 of them have died in last three months, have flooded the airwaves.  When I see them, I think of Andiseni.

This is Andiseni today.  He is a healthy, active six year old boy who loves to sing and play with galimotos (toy cars made out of wire).  He also has a great imagination, and can often be found building and “driving” cars made out of straw and whatever other materials he can find around Mtendere Village.  We were able to reach Andiseni in time, but we know there were many more children that we were not able to help.

The development sector often operates under a strategy of reaction instead of preemption, which inevitably means that lives will be shattered before an appropriate intervention is in place.  At 100X, we want to intervene before a crisis peaks.

In Malawi, fish is a vital protein resource; however, the current per capita fish supply is far below WHO recommendations.  Translation?  There are not enough fish for everyone—a deficit that greatly contributes to protein deficiency and malnutrition.  Which, according to the World Food Program, leads to reduced physical and mental development during childhood, greater risk during pregnancy, difficulty resisting disease, and diminished capacity to learn and do physical work.

Since food is so important, and fish is one of two primary sources of protein in Malawi, we have teamed up with fish experts.  Yes, there really are fish experts—not just people who fish well.  Our team is made up of the who’s who of aquaculture.

Auburn University’s Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures:  The international experts in building fish farms—an entire department of incredibly smart people, who know what it takes to get the fishing industry in Malawi up and running.

Chief Napoleon Dzombe: Chief Napoleon is a fish farming entrepreneur (and a highly respected chief in Malawi) who will be helping us connect new fishing techniques with the hundreds of farmers that he knows.

Maldeco:  This nonprofit corporation has been a major player in seeking to save the native fish, the Chambo, and they manufacture fish food.  We will be working with them to improve and expand the fish food they make to help farmers grow more fish.

Our role?  We are going to build state of the art fish ponds that are connected to farms.  The fish will live in water that will also be used for irrigation—that means that the stuff we normally filter out of the fish tank (enough said) will enrich the water used to water crops.

Sound Interesting?  Have you ever caught a fish with teeth?  Or scuba dived in a lake with 400 species of tropical fish?  You might need to take a trip to Malawi to visit the 100X work there, or perhaps you would like to just meet with our fish team to see what you can do.  Visit our website to see how you can help us help children like Andiseni!

Lindy Blanchard, Co-Founder and President

A child’s first…

I am thankful to report that this past April – June, we were blessed to receive 17 more children at Mtendere Village.  Our staff got to experience many of the children’s “firsts”: first time to ever sleep on a mattress, first time to wear a pair of shoes, first time to see a camera, and, first time ever to meet an American.

It was our 2 year olds’ first time in life to be held. Andrew’s father disappeared before he was born and his mother died after giving birth. He was raised by his grandfather which meant staying home alone for days at a time with no food while his grandfather occupied the local beer halls. There was no stimulation or human interaction. When he was brought to us, he was not only malnourished but emotionally vacant. The love of the other children overwhelmed him. After 30 days of constant love and attention, we watched as for the first time ever, Andrew reached for a hug and for the first time since we received him, he smiled.

Jaziel is our 4 year old who lost both his mom and dad. His grandmother could not feed or clothe him. Much like all our children, Jaziel came to Mtendere with only the clothes on his back. It was his first full day and the sound of the lunch bell rang. Jaziel asked, “What does that mean?” and Michael (our 5 year old) told him, “that is the sound of lunch, lets go get our food!” Jaziel said, “You mean we get to eat again?”…. Not only was this the first time for Jaziel to wear new clothes, but it was his first time in life, to be fed twice in one day.

Fatsani (our 6 year old) after losing both his mother and father, lived with his grandmother. When his health began to suffer because she was not able to care for him, the Chief of his village brought the urgent matter to us. After a month of living at Mtendere, he looked and behaved like a new child. At this same time, his aunt came to my house and said she had just received the news that her only sisters son was taken to a place that she was told “sells children to America.”  She was in tears and demanded to see her nephew. She asked if she was too late. She wanted to know if we had sold her only connection to her late sister. As I began to explain to her that we do not “sell children to anyone” and talked with her more about our programs, she suddenly saw Fatsani running to her in the distance. She covered her eyes, rested her head on my shoulder and cried out, “Praise God for you all at this place! I’ve never known people like you who would take in orphans and treat them like kings.” For the first time in his life, Fatsani was according to her being treated like a king! Praises to the King of Kings for blessings like this!

Dana Blanchard, Director of Operations for Malawi

Guest Blog: Lessons

We were not the only teachers. The children taught us things that no professor could ever teach in a classroom–lessons that we will forever hold in our hearts.

As future teachers, helping children learn and succeed is one of our many passions. Arriving at the orphanage in Mtendere Village we were unsure of just how this passion would be sparked, but it quickly lit on fire and burned the whole time we were there. Some of us had spent minimal time working with children, especially directly in a classroom. This experience level quickly changed as we were divided up into different classrooms our second day at Mtendere. There were some students teaching the housemothers of the village, others in preschool age classrooms, and then others in primary or secondary aged classrooms. Every classrooms proposed challenges and situations to apply different teaching methods we had been taught all the way back at Ball State University.

Some students even had the experience of working one on one with the children at Mtendere, in an hour and half tutoring session everyday. These tutoring sessions allowed us to work on a more personal level with the children and help them individually in the area of reading. The sessions consisted of learning the level of reading our student could achieve, and work on areas such as comprehension that proved to be more difficult. The sessions not only consisted of helping the children with reading, but it also proposed opportunities to get to know and create relationships with our students.

Our time in Mtendere was spent mostly with the children; we acted as teachers to them whether it was in the classroom or playing games. We were not the only teachers. The children taught us things that no professor could ever teach in a classroom–lessons that we will forever hold in our hearts.

Bethany Thompson is an Elementary Education student at Ball State University.

Creating Spaces in Nagpur

31 Million.  According to UNICEF, this number represents the number of orphaned children living in India—21% of the estimated 147 million orphans worldwide. We have provided housing for hundreds of children in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Nagpur through our partnership with Reaching Indians Ministries International (RIMI), but these statistics support our belief that much more needs to be done.

While we are saddened that circumstances deem it necessary, we are excited for the opportunity to expand our orphan care program in Nagpur, India, and welcome more children into our family there.  Under the leadership of Reverend Saji Lukos, RIMI and 100X support and educate more than 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Nagpur; however, we want to reach more.  So, we are expanding!  We have recently begun construction on a second floor addition that will provide additional room for staff and children.  We never want to be in the position that we cannot accept one more.

Read more about our partnership with RIMI, and join us in our work to reach the orphans of India.