At the Freedom to Dream Summit 2019, we are partnering with a number of non-profit organizations to help advance their cause and enable them to empower the dreams of more people.
Here are the stories of our beneficiary organizations:
Compassion, Collaboration, and Community: The Samaritana Story
by Chesca Quimora
According to studies, 500,000 Filipino individuals are involved in sex work or prostitution. The appalling practice could start at a very young age, with 1 Filipino child trafficked out of 10 children in the world. This is not only due to poverty but also because of the limiting mindset that these people don’t have a future, that they and their resources are not enough.
“I can freely go out during the day because people stopped gossiping and talking about me. My life started to have direction, and I believe that if this is really where God is calling me, then God will use my life in reaching out to other women,” said Maria, one of the women aided by Samaritana Transformation Ministries—proof that healing is a step closer to achieving one’s dreams.
Established by Thelma Nambu and her friends, Samaritana has been empowering survivors of prostitution for over 27 years. With great concern for their fellow Filipinas who were part of this trade, Samaritana built communities that helped these individuals restore themselves and their lives while finding new passions to fuel new dreams.
Samaritana’s services started with night outreach activities and home visitation. Eventually, they developed holistic programs of intervention and aftercare for vulnerable survivors. Members of the organization equip trainees in new forms of livelihood, as well as set up outreach programs and medical missions. They also raise awareness as they conduct training with city employees, law enforcement officers, and church leaders.
Samaritana is a member of the Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women – Asia Pacific, a founding member of the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution, and a member of the Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking. The group believes that their labor is inspired by love, and their endurance is spurred on by hope for each woman.
Embrace our sisters and help them heal by praying for them, purchasing their hand-made products, or volunteering. To learn more about how you could support them, you may reach Samaritana through firstname.lastname@example.org or by stopping by their booth at the Freedom to Dream Summit 2019.
Nothing is Impossible: Miss Possibilities Foundation
by Justine Perez
It’s challenging to deal with things beyond one’s control. And having to mind the social stigma worsens the ordeal even more. Self-confidence is a rather touchy subject. But it’s something that many can relate to — even if some don’t wish to admit it.
In the case of Miss Possibilities, it’s Asia’s first pageant for those with special needs. The foundation behind it works to showcase the unique character, skills, and charisma of these people while educating the rest of us that this isn’t even the new normal — it’s just normal.
Suzanna Pavadee Vichienrut Yuzon is the founder and president of Miss Possibilities Foundation. She herself has a special needs child. Their mission is simple. “Ultimately, we’re here to change the stigma that sometimes we still have for the people with special needs like you feel sorry for them and the family and just to show that they have value to society, and with a little understanding and acceptance, they could be productive in society.”
Last year, Samantha Pia Cabanera was crowned as Miss Possibilities 2018. Despite living with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, she’s a senior high school student with big plans to attend the University of the Philippines. As Samantha said, “If I trust myself and listen to other people, I believe I can. Maybe, someday, I could write for an online magazine for autistic people.”
This is the kind of self-confidence that the foundation yearns for. This is what they invest their time, effort, and heart into. Samantha, after participating in the pageant, mentioned that “I feel very nervous and thankful at the same time because I just want to showcase the talents of people with disabilities (PWDs).”
She has plans to become an advocate for PWDs and people living with autism. “I encourage other kids like me to join pageants like this to build their self-confidence. But, it’s up to them if they want to join, but it’s not just about joining pageants, it’s also about believing in themselves and what they can do,” she said.
Learn more about Miss Possibilities Foundation by visiting their official Facebook page.