One young woman’s remarkable journey
From being trafficked at age 4 to now sitting for her Grade 12 Exams…
Marley** was born to an impoverished family in rural Cambodia. Unable to care for her, Marley's mother took her to live with another lady from their village at the age of 4 years. Soon after, Marley was taken to Thailand and was forced into a nightmare of working long hours begging on the streets to earn money for this woman. If she didn’t earn enough each night she was beaten. For the next 4 years Marley was shuffled around Bangkok following several arrests, given away to someone else and placed in to detention until eventually at 8 years old was repatriated back to Cambodia.
Marley began a new life in an orphanage and although the staff were caring, she desperately wanted to see her family again. The orphanage began tracing her family and unfortunately discovered her parents had died. Marley was devastated. An opportunity arose for Marley to live with a family. She lived with them for 1 year, however this family stopped her from going to school and expected her to earn an income to support her living. Marley asked to be returned to the orphanage.
At age 14, Marley had to leave the orphanage and was transferred to another Transition to Independence home, she was in grade 6. The home had 5 young people. Marley continued to study hard – she was determined and had dreams of a healthy and happy life. At age 17, again Marley was moved to a new shelter.
Marley became pregnant and the home where she was living referred her to another organisation who works with young pregnant women. Unfortunately, it was discovered that Marley had a high risk pregnancy and she eventually gave birth to a little girl who had major health complications. It was unknown how long her little girl would survive.
Marley decided that for her daughter to have the best possible care, she wanted to place her in the care of a foster family. Following this, Marley was referred to AusCam in July 2013 and has lived in our Transitions Life Centre Community Home.
She was invited by the foster family to continue to share in her daughter’s life and had several visits where she was able to build a relationship with her little girl and the foster family, but sadly her little girl passed away shortly after her 1st birthday. For Marley, this was the saddest day of her life. I remember that day so well, all I could do was to cradle her in my arms and let her feel my love. She mourned for many months over the loss of her little girl. However, through the support of her AusCam Counselor, her friends in the home and the love she experienced from all the staff she became more determined to focus on her education to ensure she could have a future.
Marley has excelled. She became a leader, a trusted friend for the other girls and an inspiration to the staff. We are so incredibly proud of her. In a few weeks she will be sitting her grade 12 exams. What an amazing accomplishment for a young woman whose life started out so tragically. She has dreams of going to University. She is interested in design and Art.
Although our TLC home has officially closed in June 2016 as we now have strategically moved our focus to Prevention through Education, Marley will remain a part of our program so we can continue to walk her journey with her. We support her to live in a girls dormitory and our Counselor still meets with her regularly.
Marley was recently asked to reflect on her TLC experience and these words were sent to me..
“I am so grateful to Geoff and Julie for providing their support in helping me prepare for my future. I am committed to do my best always and to develop myself to be the best person I can be. I will never do anything that would make Geoff and Julie lose hope in me.. I will show them the results in my future.”
it is times like this when I read those words that keep me encouraged to continue fighting for these precious young women so they can have a beautiful hope filled future.
We are looking for a sponsor or sponsors who would be interested in setting up a scholarship fund for Marley to attend university. If you are interested please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may be interested in sponsoring a young girl on our Freedom Education Scholarship program. For more information click here:
** Not her real name to maintain confidentiality.
Founder & International Program Director
PROTECTION & EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION, MENTORING & LIFE SKILLS
AusCam Freedom Project believes girls should be 'taught not trafficked'.
You can set a girl free by sponsoring her education here: