Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dreams Can Come True . . .

In 2015, it was just a dream.  The Empowerment Project, was just words on paper that Destiny Women proposed to Amilia’s Light and the process of turning the dream to reality loomed ahead. The project had to be tested, restructured and fine tuned to meet the needs to mentor, train, educate and provide job opportunities for the young women that Destiny Women serves.  The partnership opened its doors in March 2016, and now, a little over a year later, girls, survivors of sex trafficking, who previously had to work in unendurable places under unbearable conditions have a safe and dignified place to work and learn vocational skills.
Our generous donors joined the girls in choosing a name for what we envisioned would be a channel of hope and light in seemingly dark lives that have been wounded in many ways. 10,000 Lights Women’s Business Centre, (10KWBC) was the chosen name.  A few girls were carefully chosen to get the business off the ground, knowing these choices would be key for the future growth of the project.  The Centre opened with a hair salon and boutique.  It has since expanded to include a craft shop.
The girls have grown tremendously through their experiences working at the Centre.  They are grateful for the opportunity to earn money to meet basic needs and support themselves. Benna joined 10KWBC in December 2016 and over the past months has grown in many ways.  “Before I joined this business, I was not confident enough, but now I can talk to customers and sell and market our crafts without being shy.  I thank you for this business because it has helped me to become a responsible person.”  Teddy has also learned skills that already help her earn some extra income to take care of her and her 2-year-old daughter, Michelle.  Over the weekends when she is not at work, Teddy is able to use her newly-learned skills to plait hair at home to earn extra income.
The Empowerment Program Task Force (EPTF) oversees and evaluates the business, it’s growth and finances, as well as the training and development for participants.  The task force is comprised of Destiny Women director Miriam Enyaga, two social workers, both graduates of Destiny Women’s program, and myself, Amilia’s Light liaison.  We have assessed the girls’ strengths and how to channel their energies and abilities in order to both empower the girls and grow the business.  According to Miriam, “Our girls have grown, they value themselves and each other so much more than when they first joined, and they have been able to generally take better care of themselves, which is crucial for their self-esteem and empowerment.”  
It has been a first year with many lessons learned and many challenges triumphed.  Most importantly, the girls are hopeful and energized to continue to learn new skills and lessons that will enable them to be empowered.  It's just the beginning and we have so much more to learn. We are taking many steps toward our goal of turning the dream to empower these young women, to live more dignified and purposeful lives by giving them the tools to realize their own dreams.

This weeks blog is written by Rachel Tumwine, Amilia's Light Uganda Liaison.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Volunteering - It's good for us, and it's good for you too!

This week's blog is written by our dear friend and volunteer, Cathy Chung.  Cathy plugs in whenever and wherever she can... sometimes it's writing, sometimes it's in the kitchen, sometimes its planning and often it's digging!

My most vivid memory of my trips to Phnom Penh felt like a pajama party. I sat crocheting with a
group of giggling, chatty teenagers who could have been my daughter’s friends – mostly teens, but some were preteens. All these beautiful girls had been sex trafficked, and some were still trying to leave their trafficker.

My time with the girls was brief but made a huge impact - not on them, but on me. My heart was broken. I returned home wanting to do more, so I started volunteering with Amilia’s Light when it was launched in 2014. We are helping to empower trafficking survivors in Uganda and in the Boston area. 

Volunteering Has an Impact
We all want to make a difference in the world, don’t we? We want to help those in need. But a surprising benefit comes from having an impact on someone’s life: it’s invigorating. It feels good to ease someone’s burden.

Not only does it feel good, volunteering is good for your mind and health. Researchers at the London School of Economics found evidence that volunteering 1-2 hours weekly makes you happier.

Volunteering Builds Community

With consistent volunteering you form relationships with other workers and those you are helping, relieving feelings of loneliness and isolation. These relationships increase your social, and possibly professional, network, and give you an expanded safety net should you find yourself in need. 

In addition, Psychology Today cites an improved immune system and a lower risk of depression, anxiety, and dementia as benefits of consistent socializing.

Volunteering Lengthens Your Life
Your psychological health improves when you volunteer consistently. It helps build self-confidence; says the right match can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. 

Your body instinctively knows volunteering is good. The London School of Economics research found that when you assist others, your body releases dopamine, which improves your mood and reduces stress. Helping others makes you happier, helps you deal with anger and anxiety, and lowers your blood pressure.

Volunteering with Amilia’s Light

I love gardening and call it dirt therapy. Several years ago I began potting and selling my surplus plants to benefit Amilia’s Light. It’s a win-win. I’m doing something I enjoy that also impacts a survivor’s life. I always look forward to our annual plant sale.  

Amilia’s Light can match you with a volunteer opportunity that matches your interests, expertise, and time commitment. We hope you’ll even have fun while knowing you’ve helped empower survivors of sex trafficking.

Love to entertain? 
We’re currently planning our Enchanted Evening Garden Party on June 17th
Help with food, decorations, shopping, setup and garden planting.
 Help Our Garden Party Grow and join the fun right away!

Creative?  Love to write? Social Media Your Thing? Graphic arts? 

Our supporters and our community want to be in the know and we like to keep things fresh and provide meaningful content on the website, blogs, social media and news resources. 

You can plug into many different opportunities at

We’d love to help you improve your health by finding the right volunteer opportunity. More options can be found at

 Tell us what's in your wheelhouse and we’ll suggest the perfect match!

Cathy Chung receives great joy by serving others and makes volunteering a full-time passion. She serves the homeless through her church, supports survivors of trafficking through Amilia’s Light and World Hope, and encourages people in faith through teaching, speaking and blogging. She loves gardening, hiking, and reading. Cathy is married with three nearly grown children and lives near Boston.

Connect with Cathy at: