Meet Meta. Meta was one of the stateless children who grew up with Kru Nam, the project director in Not For Sale Thailand, who provided her the opportunity to go to school at 5 years old. Before meeting Kru Nam, Meta would sell flowers at night for her aunt, sometimes even staying out until 2 or 3 am. Between 10 and 11pm, Kru Nam and two others, Pi Pok and Kru Ake, would bring mats to the Tha Pae Gate in the city’s main square and engaged with street children through art and teaching them how to read and write. Meta would walk past this area each night when selling flowers and would sometimes even stop by and sit in on lessons if her aunt didn’t see her.
One day, Kru Nam visited her aunt’s apartment, and asked Meta if she’d like to go to school. Clinging to the opportunity, Meta immediately packed her bag and left with Kru Nam. Later, Meta was dropped off at a boarding school, where she describes having learned everything. When first arriving, Meta was unable to speak the Thai language, however she was still taken in and taught gradually. At the Buddhakasetra School, apart from receiving an education, Meta learned how to cook her own meals, how to live sufficiently and independently, and work hard.
Because of Meta’s hard work, she was able to attend college and was the first stateless child to graduate from a Thai university which ultimately allowed her to gain full Thai citizenship.
Today, Meta rescues at-risk and sick children off the streets of Thailand and provides them with the care that they need. #SheInspiresMe
Kru Nam is the spirit of Not For Sale. Without her, we would not exist.
A mother and an artist, Kru Nam first got involved with the issue of human trafficking when she brought paints to children on the streets of Thailand, encouraging them to share their stories. What they painted shocked her– the images illustrated trauma that no child should know.
Kru Nam was determined to change the course of these children’s lives. The majority of them had left everything in their home countries to seek financial success in Thailand, but had gotten manipulated by traffickers to work in karaoke bars, where they were subject to sexual exploitation. Despite death threats from traffickers, Kru Nam traveled to Chiang Mai and drove her truck through the alleyways of red light districts, offering children inside the bars an opportunity to start over.
At the time, the only space Kru Nam could provide her children was her own half-built house. It was an infinitely better option than their previous situation, but still unsustainable. One night, the wiring short circuited and burnt down the house and everyone’s belongings.
Kru Nam was devastated by the tragedy, but still refused to give up. “Why would I have to surrender to destiny?” She felt bound to her children’s struggles and knew she would find a way to give them the futures they deserved– “I know this fight is hard, but there is no other choice.”
Her lifeline was a card with David Batstone’s email on it. Not even knowing what email was, she went to an Internet cafe and asked the other customers for help. They didn’t take her seriously but helped her write to the American, explaining her situation in English.
Four days later, Mark Wexler arrived in Thailand with $10,000 strapped to his body. Kru Nam became Not For Sale’s first project director.
Now, with Not For Sale’s help, Kru Nam runs a shelter for about 150 rescued street children, providing them with dormitories, medical care, basketball courts, an organic farm, a library, and a computer center. There have been many setbacks along the way, but she never let them slow her down. From being arrested countless times to arguing with school officials about stateless children’s right to education, she always put her kids’ safety above her own. Among the hardships, there have been incredible successes, such as seeing one of her children become the first stateless individual to graduate from Thai university.
We thank Kru Nam for her courageous sacrifices to the anti human trafficking movement. This Wednesday, we are honored to have this social justice warrior as our #WCW.
This month, Not For Sale launches our #InnovateForGood campaign. We’ll be celebrating outside-the-box thinkers who are creating solutions for injustice through entrepreneurship, and stories of global impact from innovators in the Not For Sale ecosystem and beyond!
Not For Sale + Thailand
A quick video on some of our work in Thailand...We have a 10-year self-sufficiency horizon for every country project. > First, we start with intervention and get people out of slavery and exploitation. > Then, we move to research the root causes and contributing factors that create vulnerability. > Next, we design and implement solutions that lead to long-term protection and inoculation from exploitation. That's where our enterprises come in. Not For Sale lies at the heart and soul of Z Shoes, REBBL, Square Organics, Not For Sale Ale, and all of our other enterprises...Our companies return funding to fuel NFS on-the-ground work AND align their supply chains for positive impact, sourcing and producing with dignity.Our everyday purchases can impact the world. Together we can end exploitation and forced labor. WE are Not For Sale, because they are not for sale.notforsalecampaign.orgPosted by Not For Sale on Friday, March 31, 2017
Thailand is where Not For Sale began. Here’s a quick video of our Thailand project, led by Kru Nam. Not For Sale Thailand constructed and expanded a children’s home, which offers shelter and long-term housing for youth rescued from exploitation. We provide the children safety, stability, nutritious meals and medical care.
Please share our video to show others what we can do to stop human trafficking.
For more information on our direct service in Thailand, please visit Thailand’s page.