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Review for The Freedom Story (Formerly The SOLD Project), Oakland, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I support The SOLD Project 100%. I have sponsored a student in their program since 2009 and have witnessed the incredible work they do firsthand, both in my travels and later as a volunteer. When I first encountered SOLD in early 2009 I was immediately impressed by their focus on the prevention of child exploitation through education; almost no one else was doing that at the time. The fact that their entire prevention model was developed by locals and continues to be run by truly wonderful, dedicated people from among the Thai and hill tribe communities that they serve gives them immense credibility, and they've seen remarkable success. Through educational scholarships, mentors, trafficking awareness programs, and a truly robust Resource Center in the village, they've brought the school drop-out rate down from more than 50 percent to now less than 5 percent in the community. That's in less than five years. And now there are girls graduating from high school and pursuing university degrees. All of this was unheard of for this region before The SOLD Project came along. They're a relatively small organization, but they're making an incredible difference. And they only continue to grow. I can't wait to see where they go next.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

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What is unique about this organization?

Their programs are local-led and local-run, and 100 percent of all donations to scholarships and prevention programs go directly to the work on the ground in Thailand. Unlike most organizations in this field, they take a proactive approach to human trafficking by focusing on PREVENTION through education and community development among at-risk populations. This is a much savvier use of time and resources—and far more effective—than efforts aimed at rescue and rehabilitation.

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field