Last month, our Asst. Country Director got a text message from a partner in a nearby city. His after care shelter, which provides refuge for nearly 40 trafficked or exploited children, was struck by a sudden flood due to torrential rainfall. Kru Jaa, once a street child himself, has worked hard alongside his staff for the past 25 years to fight for the safety of local, impoverished youth, and his shelter took serious blows with the sudden flash flood. Thankfully, all the children are safe, but the crops, chickens, structures, and some equipment did not fare as well.
We were so grateful for the donations of this community that allowed us to make a financial gift to Kru Jaa to help rebuild his center. While his local community supporters and the kids themselves swept and cleaned, The Exodus Road was able to donate $2,000 to Jaa’s foundation, which went to basic cleaning supplies, replacing some lost equipment and purchasing wood which was used to build some new tables for the students. The young men there at the shelter actually spent several days themselves helping to build the tables, while learning some basic woodworking skills.
Jaa himself wrote in an email to the TER team:
“First and foremost, I would like to say thank you very much to TER for your help in this situation. This is the first time in 25 years since I’ve been working in P—-. Everything happened so fast, we can’t prepare anything. We focus on the safety of the children first so we didn’t have time for our assets that is why so many area was damaged (ex. library, office, computer room, children accommodation, grains store room).Again thank you so much for your support” – Kru Jaa
When two staff members visited Jaa shortly after the flood, he was his usual smiling, jovial self that so many in the area have come to admire. He talked about how the boys were enjoying getting a chance to build something with their hands and was simply grateful that no one got hurt.
Like so many who survive long-term in the field of anti-trafficking, Kru Jaa lives a hopeful perseverance that fighting for the innocence of children is worth the effort it takes to rebuild — even when dealt a major blow.