It's the start of the June long weekend. So what are your plans? Can you already hear the conversation around the office on Tuesday morning as people retell the events of their weekend?
Maybe someone will share something like what I read in a facebook post recently. "[We] went to a science and technology museum. We had the opportunity to learn......play games, and have a lot of fun together!"
Replace the museum with footy, star gazing, winery or ... whatever. Are you getting the picture?
But I think there is a remarkable difference between this and the stories I will hear next week.
This type of lesiure activity was rather new in the lives of the women who experienced it. I will let someone else paint the picture of their background.
The facebook post in Starfish Project's feed. Here is how a Starfish Project outreach worker describes the lives of the women they meet in the red light districts of Asia.
They typically left home at 12, 13, 14, 15 to go earn money so their bothers can go to school. They probably thought they were going to work at a legitimate massage parlor or hair salon. Once they arrive at the brothel, they really have no way of leaving. They’re terrified, it’s their first time to have left their small villages, it’s their first time in the big city, they may not be able to read, and they have very little cash. They don’t have to be held under the treat of violence; they have no other option.
Our outreach teams form relationships with these women week after week. We bring flowers, jewelry, small gifts, chocolates - anything that could serve as a conversation starter and a reminder after we’ve left.
Eventually some of the women choose to enter Starfish's safe house and begin her journey to freedom. On that background a trip to a museum; pursuing something purely for the fun and lesiure it provides makes the story so much richer.
Thankfully the outreach program is one way Starfish Project offers women a chance to experience freedom, establish independence, develop a career and just get to enjoy life.
As a woman that has purchased and wears the beautiful contemporary jewellery they produce, I have contributed in some small but valuable way, to this process also. And well, I think that's a pleasure that is worth talking about in the office on Tuesday too!
Have a great weekend and enjoy the moments you have to pursue lesiure- it is a gift.
Thanks to Starfish Project for allowing me to share their stories and images.