Context

In Tan Kieng Ward, District 7 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the shelter is located in one of the poorest communities in the metropolitan area.  Isolated from the city center by the Saigon River, this area is known for its drugs and prostitution.  However, because of its proximity to employment in the city, many poor, rural families have migrated to the district in search of jobs. The influx of people in the area has created crowded, unsanitary living environments for the people of the Tan Kieng Ward.  In addition, many under-aged girls become vulnerable to abuse, prostitution and exploitation.

As in many cases, the source problem of the situation in Tan Kieng and throughout Vietnam is economic.  Poverty forces many families to take their children, especially their girls, out of school to generate income.  Families that are poor are also disproportionately burdened by hardships such as alcoholism, drug addiction and illness.  Many girls are then forced to work, sold into brothels or are coerced into selling their bodies.  The Little Rose Warm Shelter believes the greatest contribution in combating this problem is through intervening before exploitation can occur.  By removing the girls from a potentially violent situation and providing them a place to grow and learn safely, these girls are empowered to do more in their communities.

Within the shelter, the girls cooperate and find support through living with each other; the older members of the group provide mentorship to the younger ones, they all share in household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the grounds.  They all go to local schools and in their downtime, fill it resourcefully with games, art or music.  In this environment, the girls are first and foremost, taught to speak up for their beliefs and have conviction for their morals.  They are encouraged to demand more from their lives than continuing the cycle of poverty.  The girls who leave the shelter are equipped with the skills necessary to pursue a purposeful life; securing jobs or entering university.

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