Grace (pseudonym) thought she was on the pathway to economic freedom after being trafficked for sex as a teenager. She finished high school and one year of college with 10ThousandWindows’ support and had just started a new job at a local bakery in the Philippines.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The Philippines economy contracted nearly overnight, and Grace found herself in lockdown and unemployed. Grace had her extended family to support, but there were no jobs to be found.
Because of the generosity of our partners and supporters, we were able to quickly adapt our response to serve Grace and hundreds of others like her. In the middle of the pandemic, we launched a paid internship program for survivors who lost jobs because of COVID-19. This program immediately created short-term and part-time work for survivors who desperately needed it.
Right now, dozens of survivors who are unemployed and cannot find work are gaining new skills through this program and earning crucial income at the same time. Survivors have been sewing facemasks which are then distributed to partner aftercare shelters and other organizations in the community.
In addition to gaining workplace skills and crucial income, each survivor also has access to career counseling, job referrals, and job search support throughout their internship.
Grace, who joined the program in October says:
“I am happy to be part of the Work Immersion Program. My family’s difficulties and needs motivate me. I cannot support my family and myself if I do not have any source of income during the pandemic. When I received my first stipend, I immediately helped my family. I am grateful for the support 10ThousandWindows has offered us.”
After two months in the internship program, Grace was offered a new job with the bakery and is now employed full time again.
Since July, 128 survivors have accessed this program, a crucial link to work in the midst of the pandemic.