Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club

Tue, 11/08/2016 - 11:30am

Coming Up This Week

On Nov. 10, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., all veterans are invited as our guests. Adria Horn, director of Maine’s Veterans Services Program, will speak at Rotary's Veterans Appreciation event. Horn is a graduate of West Point and is a U.S. Army Reservist with the U.S. Pacific Command. During her tenure, she has deployed overseas five times in her 15-year career. She also has been a member Senator Collins’ state office staff. All persons interested in Rotary are invited. The clubhouse is located on Montgomery Road off of Route 96 enroute to East Boothbay

Community leaders find fulfillment at Rotary

Gathering together in Rotary offers us a chance to see what leaders in our extended family community are doing.

Rotary is invested in the future of young women and men throughout the world. To this end, the Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club presented a donation of $1,000 to Friends of Thai Daughters (FTD), an important organization that the club has previously supported.

Receiving this gift was Julie Lamy, global program director and a member of FTD, as well as Lek Saruta, a living example of the success of this program.

FTD is a non-profit organization providing education, safe shelter and emotional support to girls at risk of being trafficked in Northern Thailand. The program is intensive, comprehensive, long-term and produces amazing outcomes.

Within Thailand, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are the main hubs for sex trafficking. Women and girls can be lured into trafficking in multiple ways. Often traffickers go to rural and impoverished villages and promise girls and their families that they will be taken to the city to start jobs as waitresses or maids. Traffickers tell the families stories about all the money their daughter will make and the different opportunities she will have. Traffickers will even make a “down payment” on the girl and pay parents for their daughters before they take them.

FTD is a prevention program, focusing its efforts on ethnic hill tribe girls in Northern Thailand who are at-risk of being trafficked due to extreme poverty, lack of legal status, being orphaned or having parents in jail. FTD focuses its efforts on the most vulnerable girls in Northern Thailand. While many NGOs provide support and services for a short number of years, the FTD model provides shelter, support and education through college and beyond. FTD daughters enter the program as vulnerable children and emerge as empowered adults.

Human trafficking is a growing problem across the globe, especially within developing countries. The Greater Mekong Sub-region and Thailand have served as a source and destination country for traffickers and victims. Sex trafficking puts women and girls at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other devastating health consequences, both mental and physical. The violence and poor living conditions victims experience is unimaginable to many people but is all too real to them. Steps need to be taken to help trafficking victims now and to prevent future trafficking.

Our two speakers were impressive. Before taking on this challenge, Julie Lamy worked for 20 years with several other NGOs, including Boothbay Region Land Trust, Colorado Special Olympics, Girl Scouts in New York City and served as an NGO advisor in the Peace Corps in Lithuania.

Lek Saruta expressed thanks for supporting her sisters. Lek was born in the hill tribe region of Thailand near the Burmese border. She joined the program in high school and graduated with a degree in fine arts from Rajamangala University in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2014. During the 2014 summer, Lek interned with Kim and Philippe Villard at Villard Studios in Boothbay Harbor. The internship changed the direction of her art career. She is now a professional artist and sells her exquisite white line woodblock prints in the states and in Thailand.

This past summer Lek interned at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill in Cape Cod. She returns to Chiang Mai, Thailand later this month to continue her art and train in Thai boxing.

The goal for upcoming years is to establish a third house in the golden triangle. Members of the Boothbay Harbor club, our Interact Club, and friends of Rotarians are asked to visit the program during the summer months.

Meeting Business

Joining us for the evening was Rick Mitterling, a guest of John Welsh, Linda Clapp, and Alice Mutch. I.J. Pinkham greeted us and gave an invocation. Our delicious food, prepared by Kim, was served by members Debbie Graves, Tory Paxson and Doug Roberts. Mike handled the happy dollars, and Bob awarded raffle monies to Judy deGraw and Skip Kreahling.