Every year, an estimated 20 million people in the world are sexually exploited and trafficked. About 2 million of these victims are children. Since learning in depth about this issue 5 year ago, I've developed a passion for helping survivors of crisis.
Between volunteering as a youth mentor, working in a surgery center, competing in collegiate Model United Nations, and serving as a victim advocate for rape and sexual assault survivors in Orange County, I've realized that my need to help others rebuild their lives is more than a passion- it's a calling. I am committing my life to social work and crisis management with the intent of serving and empowering both individuals and communities that have undergone severe trauma in any form.
From August 22-September 22 of this year, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to live and volunteer in a shelter called Baan Yuu Suk in northern Thailand for a full month. Ran by the Children's Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA), the shelter is home to roughly 25 girls between the ages of 6 and 19 who have been trafficked, sexually exploited, and/or are at high risk of such atrocities. The girls are mainly from the hilltribe communities in the north, which are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking due to economic and political inequality. The goal of the shelter is to nurture, heal, and educate these young girls with the hope that they will become strong women and have a positive impact in the world around them. Two of their older girls just successfully started taking classes at the university.
COSA partners with Kaya Responsible Travels, which is an international volunteer organization that connects individuals with specific projects in developing countries. Alongside a live-in staff and two other Kaya volunteers from different parts of the world, my purpose will be to empower, teach, and foster healthy relationships with the girls. In my free time I will be teaching English classes in the larger community and assisting in the local sustainable development projects. This is not only an opportunity to serve others, but a chance to develop myself in the field of international human services as well.
As a volunteer, I am responsible for all of my own fees. The funds raised on gofundme.com will 100% go to cover my flights and transportation, food, board, materials for life skills workshops for the girls, my vaccinations, insurance, and my visa while I am there. There is an option to purchase something off my wish list, as well as give a donation amount of your own choosing to help with my larger expenses such as flights and housing. Please prayerfully and intentionally consider investing in me and my life goals so that I may continue to love and serve others. This experience is going to change my life forever, and hopefully the lives of those I interact with. I can't do this without you, and I greatly appreciate all of your support!
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- Ray and Kelly Cerulli
- Kelly and Ray Cerulli
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