by Lori Carlson
PLF has a number of high school students who are from remote villages in the Province where school stops at grade 9. They get on the public taxi and come to the city to figure out a way to continue their education. They are alone, without the support of family and friends and most often they are from very poor families who cannot send them monthly allowances that would support them here.
They most often end up in unsupervised “shelters” where they are at risk for exploitation and trafficking. These places provide a roof over their heads but not much else. We try to keep a closer eye on this specific group and besides supporting their education we have set up a fledgling food bank so that they can come to the office every sunday and pick up some dry goods and give us a chance to check with them on a regular basis & make sure they are safe.
So far, we have run a couple of successful interventions with this program. Two girls were starting to work part time in the evenings at dodgy massage parlors for food money. Giving them access to the Food Bank made them stop that work and remove themselves from harm’s way.
Out of respect for their privacy we don’t want to put pictures of them up or tell their stories, but believe us when we say that we have never met 7 more brave and determined young people. One day they will look back on this as a time of great character building but in the “right now” we don’t want them starving or making desperate choices that could turn events for the worse while that strength of character is being formed.
There are currently 7 boys and girls who are in this group. They are all in grades 10-12. This will be about a $2500 per year project. We hope you will help us respond to this need.