Free To Shine
We then heard from Nicky Mih, Co-Founder and Managing Director at GoPhil partner Free To Shine: “I’d like to start by saying thank you to GoPhil and the donor partners of GoPhil, and particularly in relation to two things… That you’ve been so quick to respond and make your processes quick and easy, which is so important in a time like this, so I thank you for that. And also for the feedback we’ve had from your donors about them being ‘in it for the long term’ with us, so that really helps us feeling supported in a time like this.”
For Free To Shine, one of the major challenges has been that entire villages were closed down in addition to schools, so Education Officers and Social Workers have not been able to visit the girls as they normally would. They had to switch their social work and safety visits to phone calls, which was very challenging at first. With most of the families on their program deemed the 10% poorest within the poorest villages in the communes, most did not own phones. However, they’ve persisted and managed to stay in contact with families, whether that be through phone calls to neighbors, the village leader or the Commune Council for Women & Children. In order to prevent trafficking and exploitation of girls in the short, medium and long-term, the social work component of the Free To Shine program is more important than ever.