Welcome to the latest “CheckPoint” newsletter from Relentless. Here is an overview of what’s been going on during the first part of 2018.
MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING PROJECT
It is a privilege to participate in a partnership project sponsored by the Freedom Fund and facilitated by Raks Thai Foundation to build the capacity of organizations serving trafficked and exploited laborers in Thailand to provide better mental health care. I’m leading three-day workshops (in a couple different regions of Thailand) to train on-the-ground organization staff about mental health problems, trauma, trauma-informed care and self-care so that they can be better equipped to meet the everyday needs that survivors need. Round one has just been completed and Round 2 will go later this year. Another part of the project, facilitated by a Thai psychologist, is to improve networking among non-government organization partners, government mental health service providers, and academic institutions to increase professional mental health services to those who have serious mental health problems.
In early March, 25 women and 1 child (a child of a trafficked woman) attended our clinic in one of the “red light districts” in Bangkok. We had 11 Thai and 15 women from African countries. Although we had fewer patients than usual, the impact is no small. One woman decided to exit her trafficked situation, receiving the help of an assistance organization. Others met people who are willing to meet them right where they are. Only God knows how the seeds of hope we planted in the others will grow – we just show up to be instruments of love and grace.
Other activities include giving health class and medical consultations to women who have left their trafficked situation but waiting to return home (depending on what’s involved this can take many months). I also had the privilege to give input into developing a shelter manual being developed by the Thai government agency responsible for supporting victims of trafficking (photo below). Other organizations invite me to give single day trainings on various topics. Finally I went on a field trip to Poipet, Cambodia to visit repatriated exploited and trafficked children who are in follow up care.
April in Thailand is the summer season, when Thailand celebrates the Songkran Festival and people take long holidays to avoid the heat. This is a great time to work in Europe and so I will spend several weeks there presenting workshops and speaking at conferences. Highlights include being a featured speaker at a Trauma Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria; facilitating workshops on trauma and trauma-informed care in Budapest, Hungary; and continuing work with partners in Oradea, Romania.
RELENTLESS ENDURANCE RUN
Are you a runner looking for a cool destination race? Want to support Relentless in a unique way? You are invited to join the 2018 edition of the Relentless Endurance Run! I direct a timed event around a loop where participants (you don’t have to run) see how far you can go in 6, 12, or 24 hours. This year’s event is held during a full moon on 24-25 November 2018. For more information, please visit the Facebook page or the event page. See you there!
I’m deeply grateful for all of you who support this work financially, prayerfully, or in any of the other creative ways you have found. I can’t do this without you!
Grace and Peace,
Questions? Comments? Please be in touch by the contact page. I’d love to hear from you!