In the bustling street markets of Laos, it’s amazing the number of very young children, working, begging, and just roaming the streets. It’s hard not to feel a little anxious for these children who are highly vulnerable to traffickers, pedophiles, and abuse.

To help some of these children, Orphan’s Promise (OP) is partnering with an organization in Laos to provide 152 school scholarships. These scholarships give street children, and other vulnerable children from poor communities that have had experienced trafficking, the opportunity to stay in school by providing free education. Awareness is also built with parents, caregivers, and the community about the value of education and keeping children in a school.

Jenny is one young girl in Laos who was not able to study until Fifth Grade. Because she is a recipient of an Orphan’s Promise scholarship, she now has the opportunity to study for free, and follow her dreams to one day become a doctor.

Tragically, Jenny was almost trafficked by her aunt and sent to follow her mother into the sex industry in Thailand. Thankfully, her poor grandmother refused to allow this to happen and tried her best to take care of Jenny, taking her to live with her at a temple where she was a nun.

Every day, Jenny would help her grandmother clean at the temple and was unable to attend school. Our partner heard about Jenny’s situation and spoke with her and her grandmother. They offered for Jenny to stay in a loving small group home, supported by Orphan’s Promise, for girls who have been trafficked or who are at high risk of trafficking or abuse. The grandmother gladly agreed. Jenny now has a safe place to live and has all of her basic needs provided for, including her much wanted and needed education.

Cooking is one of Jenny’s passions. She loves to help cook at the girl’s home and at her church to prepare meals for the congregation. I watched her preparing a meal while I was there and realized I needed to get her to teach me how to cook!

Jenny has come to know a loving God and mentioned how she has learned to pray to Him and trust him with any problems she faces. She was preparing to be baptized while I was there, and is active in her youth program at church, and is even learning to play the piano.

This precious young lady was so grateful to those who have given her the chance to study and live in a safe, loving place, where she can pursue a brighter future. Jenny still visits her loving grandmother, who is proud of her achievements and appreciates the new opportunities she has been given.

I thank God that Jenny, and 152 other children like her, now have a chance through OP donors and our Laos partner, to better avoid a life of abuse and neglect, and see their dreams become a reality. I just hope and pray that in the future we can help even more, maybe even some of those I saw roaming the markets.

(Please note – names have been changed – and faces hidden – in this story for privacy and security reasons)

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