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July 29, 2009 > Pacific Links Foundation

Pacific Links Foundation

By Sargunjot Kaur

Pacific Links Foundation (PALS), though a small volunteer organization, has a big mission: to bring about a social change and break the cycle of poverty in Vietnamese communities by providing support and enrichment of the Vietnamese cultural heritage.

The organization, founded in 2001, is comprised of a team of directors from diverse backgrounds and ages who share a deep passion and commitment towards philanthropic work in Vietnamese communities.

The program's primary focus is Community Development for Empowerment (CDE), which builds networks of like-minded individuals and organizations to bring a lasting social change. One of the projects empowered under CDE is Alliance for the Prevention of Trafficking (ADAPT).

The project is a collaboration among three Vietnamese American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who all share a common concern for the safety of young girls vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking in the high-risk area of the Vietnam-Cambodia border.

At its initiation, the project's target was to create opportunities for more than 1,000 young women and girls by providing job placements, vocational training, and scholarships for the at risk victims.

The girls chosen for the scholarships are based on their risk profile, which as a result requires ADAPT volunteers to work in the poorest of the poor locations. The area is stricken with poverty with very few resources to use scholarship money. For that reason, ADAPT provides scholarships in the form of school books, health insurance, uniforms, and private tutoring.

However, the hard part is not finding recipients but persuading scholarship students to remain in school and not drop out. My, an ADAPT recipient, dropped out of school to work for $19 a month. She told her mother "I am going to work to pay back some of the family debt, and then I will go back to school."

But sadly with a meager income of $19 a month, she will not be able to lift her family out of poverty.

The ADAPT team, along with PALS, reaches out to the students in the scholarship and vocational training programs in ways to help them to keep with school.

In the past they ran a fundraiser to purchase new Vietnamese bicycles for the students.

"The need for these bikes is very real and important" explains the Managing Director Diep Ngoc Vuong, the USA Managing Director on the foundation's website. "Some of the ADAPT students have to walk almost three kilometers one way to reach school, a tremendous hardship as many already have to do household chores or work to earn supplementary income."

The program is only able to run with the help of contributions and help from the community. Community building and raising awareness is their primary method towards fighting human trafficking.

For more information contact info@pacificlinks.org

Pacific Links Foundation
534 Valley Way, Milpitas
(510) 435-3035

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