Saturday, April 04, 2009

Back in the USA

This trip to Southeast Asia has been a success. But before reflecting back, I just want to note on how it all began. It started in 2006, in a NY apartment with three roommates (me, Anthony, Chad) who read a book called “Terrify No More”. We discovered stories of young girls (some as young as 5) in Southeast Asia who were rescued from sex trafficking. They were slaves – trapped inside brothels and forced to have sex with 10-15 strangers a night. We didn’t understand why this was happening and we wanted to help. So we took a trip to Southeast Asia to uncover the truth for ourselves. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into so the name The Blind Project (theblindproject.com) made a lot of sense. Plus, we wanted to use our advertising skills to open the eyes of the world.

The three of us have been on mission trips before but this one was different. After it was over, the trip never left us. We had renewed minds and continued to spread awareness about the issue. We wanted to unite people for the cause and create a louder voice.

video

“In 2007, slave traders made more money than Google, Starbucks, and Nike combined.” Slavery is still alive and well today because it generates a lot of money. It will take a united effort to put an end to this injustice.

The Blind Project isn’t about me, Anthony or Chad. It’s about everyone. Y is The Blind Project – she’s a makeup artist who provided makeovers to the women to uplift their self image. Kevin is The Blind Project – a strategic planner who met with organizations in Southeast Asia to lay out plans for future collaborations. The New Room - a rock band that wrote a song about us and sex trafficking called Pretty Little Things... Annalynne McCord – a Hollywood actress who frequently uses her publicity to talk about the issue to the media… we are all The Blind Project.

Switching gears to our personal lives…

A few months before leaving for Asia, Downy and I were both really stressed. I was stressed about planning the fund raiser and Downy was stressed by all the administrative work. We had no intentions of giving eye exams at all. And after talking one night, she was in tears and said the words “this is not my dream”.

And it finally dawned on me… night after night, Downy has been coming home from work (helping people with their eyes) only to come home with a stack of to-do lists with all the gritty administrative stuff for The Blind Project. For the past two years she has been putting her dreams aside to help implement mine.

“What is your dream?” I asked. She said she wanted to go on a mission trip and help people with their eyes. And that’s where it all began. She was afraid because usually there are mission trips of 10-20 optometrists who do this kind of stuff… not just 1. But I told her that every one would help her out. And slowly but surely, things started to happen. We got tons of glasses donated and money to make the lenses donated too. I put my personal agenda aside, and decided my only duty on this trip was to serve my wife the best I could. And everything worked out.



So how did we link eye exams back to fighting sex trafficking?

We served organizations in Southeast Asia who were rescuing and providing rehabilitation to sex trafficked victims. After all, if education and job skills training are part of the rehabilitation program… then they should have good eyes.

This trip has been really good because it showed me that things don’t always have to go my way. Great things can happen in many ways, you just have to be flexible enough to let those opportunities come.

Everyone is good at something, and chances are, it can be used for something positive. I get a lot of emails asking “What can I do?” and that’s something that people have to ask themselves. Because, honestly, if I provided that answer… I don’t think Downy would’ve given eye exams in Asia. And that would’ve been a shame.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

God Bless,

Liem

No comments: