My Refuge House is pleased to partner with many great organizations in Cebu and around the world. One organization in Cebu that we are especially thankful for is Red Window Project. Red Window Project offers a unique “Job Readiness Program” (JRT) to partner organizations who work with vulnerable and disadvantaged students who have been through challenging life situations. Obviously, as survivors of trafficking, our girls fit that criteria, and the course is a great benefit to them.

Our program staff were taught how to implement Red Window’s curriculum, and then taught the 12 week course to four of our girls at MRH. It’s a challenging program, but at the end our participants were rewarded with a graduation where they receive recognition and a certificate in front of their family and friends. They also have an opportunity to apply for education scholarships, or potentially be referred to a job placement in the community.

Red Window’s graduation was on April 21st. The girls looked great in their best dresses, but their beams of pride and accomplishment outshone their carefully chosen garments.  One of our girls, Sandra, was even chosen to give a speech to the other graduates and guests.  We know you would love to hear what she had to tell the audience, so we’ve copied part of her speech here.  We hope Sandra’s speech inspires you as much as it inspired them!

Before I came to My Refuge House, I didn’t know what to do with myself. My mother works as a maid and the money she makes is not enough to provide for the daily needs of myself and my 5 siblings. I had to stop schooling after grade 6 and was tricked by a friend of mine into doing sex work. I felt I didn’t have hope. Before I joined JRT I thought I would not be able to finish my studies. Also, my attitude was really negative. I didn’t know how to respect people.

When Rose Ann, my social worker told me about the JRT, I was really so happy. Now I want to reach my dreams and be a good person. I want to continue with my high school education at My Refuge House.  I really want to go to college and become a social worker, and I think JRT has prepared me so I’ll be better equipped to handle not just my personal life but also my student and professional life.

I can say that the My Refuge House staff and Red Window staff have really helped me a lot in my going through this training and in reaching my goals. I want to say thank you to Miss Crystal, Miss Rose Ann, and my trainers, Miss Dhar and Miss Raquel, and also the other staff at MRH. You have given me hope, strength and courage to do my best. I also want to thank Red Window because they helped me to be ready for a job. Thank you so much and God bless us all.

Since graduating from this program, Sandra found out that she has passed her “Alternative Learning System” high school equivalency exam (much like a GED test in the US) and will be able to apply for a college scholarship from Red Window. We are so thankful for Sandra’s hard work, and so thankful to be a part of helping her achieve her dreams!