#give10 kicks off with Traffick Jam Asia

The hardest part of kicking off the first week of #give10 year two has been deciding which of our 366 amazing year one causes to pick first.

Last year when I had the same starter’s dilemma, I followed the age old advice that “Charity begins at home.” Since this worked before I’m going with that mantra again and giving our first #give10x10 donation to a cause that is working right in the neighborhood where I live.

This week I met up with Alli Mellon, Founder and Director of The Hard Places Community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We ate mango crepes and I asked her to give 10 answers about her perspectives on giving and a report back on what difference they made with the 10$ we contributed donated last March on our 25th day of giving to Traffick Jam Asia. Grab a cup of tea and check out what she said:

1. Tell us about your project. What is it doing to make the world better?

We started the Pun Lok Thmey Prevention and Restoration Center this year so young boys who have been victims of abuse and sexual exploitation have a safe space to find support within their own community.

We live in the hub of one of the world’s worst places for the trafficking and exploitation of young children. While there are many services available in Cambodia to reach out to girls who’ve been exploited, the issue of abused boys has been often overlooked or misunderstood. We want to make the world better for these boys to help get them established in a life where they can be safe from further exploitation.

The drop-in center offers education, counseling and social work for boys close to home without removing them for their families and the people they love. We try to do everything we can to address the issues of sexual abuse within a day center setting through counseling and therapy.

In the Khmer language, the center’s name means “new growth.” It symbolizes that moment when a seed is planted in the ground and begins to sprout. This dream of a new life for these boys is what motivates us.

2. Last year we gave $10 to Traffick Jam Asia. What difference has this made?

Traffick Jam is our annual fund raising event which mobilizes supporters to locally organize 10 mile walks. In the event you supported last year we raised enough money in one day to fund the opening the opening of the boys center and its operating costs for 11 months. Prior to this event, our project operated as a “club” in a local park, but the kind of work we want to do required us to have a permanent safe space for the boys. This center now provides a safe space for more than 70 children.

3. What project accomplished are you most proud of this year?

I’m proud that we now have over 70 boys in the program and the kids love it. They want to be there from the time the doors open until the doors close.

Even more than this, I’m so grateful that I’ve finally been able to see the very first two young boys we started working with two years ago finally being able to live a life where they are safe from exploitation and abuse. This wouldn’t have been possible without the perseverance and commitment of our staff and donors to this work.

4. How can a small 10$ donation make a difference in achieving your mission?

Everyday the kids come to our kids clubs hungry and malnourished. They all look about three years younger then the age they report to be. Our organization isn’t big enough to do a full feeding program, but what we can do with 10$ is buy enough fruit to make sure all of the kids have eaten a healthy snack before they go home.

The Traffick Jam movement is also built on a belief in a 10$ model. Each participant recruits 10 sponsors to pledge 10$ (1$ per miles of the 10 mile walk). The 10$ add up quickly. Last year we raised $72,000 through these 10$ pledges. This year our biggest walk raised $15,000 (although some people did give more than 10$, and some people paid NOT to walk!)

5. What is one thing you wish that your donors knew or understood better?

I wish the donors to our project could actually feel for themselves the immense relief that you feel when you know that a child is finally safe. If they could feel this even just one time they would give a million trillion dollars.

Since I know most will never be able to feel this, I also wish they’d be able to hear the laughter of the kids in the playroom coming into a safe place. If we can’t take them out of these dangerous and difficult places, we can ensure they at least have a safe place during the day

6. What do you think stops people from giving to a charity?

Fear and economic times. Many people are scared to give because they don’t know what is coming in their own lives tomorrow. In my own life there have been times when I’ve been terrified to give, but I’ve wound up being given back even more than I imagined- not always monetarily, but with a different kind of joy.

7. What do you think motivates people who donate to give again?

When people can see and understand our work for themselves and really partner with us they will continue to give. Donors must realize they are a partner in the outreach not just people who give and forget about it. We don’t take any of our donors lightly because we know what we can’t do what we do without them. The ones who understand this and stay engaged and take ownership to share the stories with others- these are the people who give more.

8. Doing world changing work isn’t free. Can you explain the model that your project uses to cover its operating costs?

Hard Places and all its projects are funded through private donations and the growing Traffick Jam movement. All of our international staff raise funds to cover their own costs, and funding from Traffick James pays the salaries of local staff and all of our day to day operation and program expenses.

9. What do you think is the role of the individual who can only make a small donation?

Small donors can encourage others to give small amounts. They are so important to us because giving doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Small donations add up to big donations. In this day and time people may say I can’t give 100 dollars or 200 dollars, but I can give 10. This is the perfect time for the small donor.

10. What are three projects would want other donors to learn about and support?

  • World Hope’s trafficking assessment center in Cambodia
  • Agape International– they also work in anti-trafficking and set an example for our work in our project’s formative years
  • Back to the Roots / Asha House is a children’s care center in India for children who have come out of horrific situations

To learn more  about Traffick Jam, or to #give10 (or more) to the work of Pun Lok Thmey, check them out at www.traffickjamasia.com, or follow them over on facebook.

Help Wanted: multiplying awesome

Today is my birthday and in addition to giving 10$, I want to raise $2490.

Every day in the #give10 world, we’ve done the same thing. We find an incredible project changing the world for good, give them a bit of cash, and then tell you about it, in the hopes that spreading the word of good work will in someway multiply its effect.  It’s been awesome, and because we’re in the business of multiplying awesome, today we’re starting out something brand new.

Drumroll: We’re launching our own little micro-project experiment and we’re asking you to #give10.

No, we’re not becoming our own charity or asking you to give money to us.  Something really amazing recently happened and  we want you to be a part of the rest of the story.

Here’s how it began: One day, many moons ago, in the early days of #give10,  I met up with a great organization in Cambodia called Sak Saum. “Sak Saum” is named after the Khmer language word for “Dignity”, and the people who run this project are in the business of restoring freedom and dignity to women who have come out of situations of human trafficking and forced labour.  They offer a one year program to rescued and at-risk women, and have built a place where women can heal and learn while gaining practical vocational skills.The women sew beautiful bags which are in turn sold to fund the project to help more women.


So, I liked them, gave them 10$, and posted it on Facebook like I do every day. But on the day I gave to Sak Saum, something different happened.  Someone else caught a vision. This vision turned into an opportunity for a matching grant for Sak Saum.


Like I said before, giving is contagious.


To make a long story short, our 10$ is about to multiply 500 times.  This is the kind of math that I like. If you’re quick with numbers, you’ve figure out that we’re helping Sak Saum get a total grant of $5000. How it works is that the #give10 community (that’s you and me) raises $2500, and the organization funding the match (The Antioch Group- a.k.a. TAG) doubles it. And, since I’ve already given the first $10, we’ve only got $2490 to go. More simple math.


And what difference will this $5000 make in the world?  Over the course of the year, the women of Sak Saum will organize and conduct events in poor villages where other women and girls (and even sometimes men) are at risk of being trafficked. Their goal is educate other people to prevent them from winding up in the dangerous and difficult situations they know first hand. At the price tag of about $200 per event, 25 communities will be reached.  I’d say that’s a bargain when it comes to changing lives.


So, what does this all mean?

It’s simple, I need your help to raise $2490 by mid November. In honor of celebrating my 38th today, I’ve set a 38 day goal for our campaign. I think we can do it quicker than that.

Here’s how you can help.
  • Go here and #give10 or 20, or 100.  If you’ve cared enough to read this far, you definately care enough to donate the cost of 2 mocha frappucinos.
  • Tell someone else about it. One thing we’ve learned through this project is that other people care more when you care too.
  • Give me money for my birthday. Since I’m turning 38 and mostly have everything a nomadic girl could need (other than a tall dark and handsome traveling companion) I’m going to give all my birthday money to this project.
  • If you want to give, but online giving doesn’t work for you, drop me a line (stephanie.zito@gmail.com) a comment, or a tweet and I’ll make it work
And what will you get?
  • The joy of knowing you’ve made the world better today
  • Some follow up reports of how the project goes and how lives are changing because of it
  • My gratitude, a shout out on Twitter & Facebook, and even a special surprise for some of you hi-rollers
So, what are you waiting for? At 10$ a piece it will only take 250 of us to change someone’s world.

Check out the Sak Saum project & #give10 here -> http://www.razoo.com/story/Saksaum

‘Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.’ – Edmund Burke