Next Step: Free the Slaves

The rainy season is just teetering on its edge again- spitting minute showers and even a few short lived storms wanting desperately to pour— but the skies are just not quite ready to release the true monsoon rains.   This is how I’ve felt during this past month or two which have compounded so swiftly. What a full month March has been for me– a month that has ushered in a myriad of personal and professional challenges, confusion, adventures and joys. Even as I write this large, full drops are thumping on the tin roofs all around me, motos are pulling over for cover and even a few street vendors will momentarily put aside their wares.   But I’ve finally been able to procure a few answers, draw some borders around my future and and begin filling the empty spaces with color and possibility.  It is a good feeling…

Just as my job with Hagar began coming to a close, I was awarded the Zimmerman Fellowship from Free The Slaves, an international NGO based in Washington, DC that is one of the leading experts on modern slavery and human trafficking.  Each year, they vet their applications and chose only 2 fellows for this incredible opportunity to learn from and contribute to the strategic anti-slavery work of one of the most highly respected organizations in the field.  I am overwhelmed by the possibilities that exist through this fellowship– not only the training and the professional experience, but the personal growth and vision I’ll be able to cultivate through this keen, sensitive group of individuals devoted to this cause.  I just cannot express the gratitude I feel for this opportunity– and the sheer relief– of knowing I have this incredible, supportive space from which to spring from.   Here is a link that give the break down of what the fellowship offers–

For a brief low down- I will be the research fellow working directly with Kevin Bales, who is considered the top expert on modern slavery (and one of the only researchers with substance behind his numbers–  Everyone quotes this work!!), I’ll have the chance to travel to some far off reaches with the world with Free The Slaves to visit some of their local NGO partners, AND I’ll be a student at Georgetown University, in a program for executive non-profit leadership.  Oh, and I cannot forget— I’ll be a paid employee with benefits (!! this has YET to happen for me, it’s pretty exciting, ha).  It’s a pretty incredible opportunity for which I am so very grateful.

I must say that the experience with Hagar here in Cambodia has really seasoned me in every way– and it has made me more qualified and ready for an experience like this one before me.

thank you THANK YOU for your encouragment throughout this time.  i can’t begin to tell you the oddity of ups and downs it’s been here in the  cambodia ngo world i’m in now. this experience has been incredibly valuable, incredibly challenging and i have learned a great deal.  i wouldn’t trade it in, but i also hope that I wouldn’t  have to do it just like this again in the future. i’m grateful for hagar and the lessons it’s taught me. I believe in their model, i think it has amazing potential, but my job facilitating the social program start up in the new international offices has its own lifespan. Hagar’s restructuring processes actually makes my transition out a more seamless and healthy one. so i guess it all works out together in the end, somehow.

My fellowship begins in July, so I will be on my way out of Cambodia sometime in May.  After stopping by Japan to see a dear friend, I will finally be back in Missouri in June.  So, where ever you may be, I hope I will get a chance to reconnect with you to at the edge of this new beginning for me.  Please do keep in touch!! I still have work to finish here, of course, and many more adventures ahead in Cambodia, which I will keep you updated on, but in the meantime, I relish the joy of returning home in the near future!

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One Response to “Next Step: Free the Slaves”

  1. searchingforquestions Says:

    I’m so excited for you Betsy!

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