Back in August, several members of the Calvin University swimming and diving team, led by head coach Dan Gelderloos, traveled to Thailand in collaboration with the Paladin Rescue Alliance in efforts to put a halt to the rising human trafficking crisis.
The 18 Calvin members teamed with Paladin leaders Pui Chomphoothet, View Rungnapa, and president Jon Proctor and members of Krupayuswim (nicknamed the Echo Team) to teach local schoolchildren how to swim and speak English.
The primary drive for the Echo Team were to combat human trafficking through prevention, rescue, and aftercare. The number one way to keep kids from ending up in the human trafficking industry is to keep children in school. The team traveled to Mae Sariang, Thailand and provided 8 days of swimming lessons and English lessons at Huay High School to accomplish this mission.
Head coach Gelderloos reflected, “Swimming is also a very valuable skill for safety in Thailand, as there is a very high drowning rate in Thailand. We taught over 300 kids from 1st through 9th grade and built many relationships along the way.”
Due to the lack of pool resources in Southeast Asia, a portable pool was set-up in order to give these swimming lessons. Water tanker trucks delivered 20 truck-loads of water to fill the portable pool.
The goal of the swimming lessons was to effectively teach children developmental water skills such as floating, swimming, and cognitive reasoning to escape dangerous water situations. Thanks to the successes of the Echo Team, 302 children earned swimming certificates with a 98% pass rate.
Along with swim lessons, the Echo Team worked alongside English teachers to improve language proficiency. The presence of native speakers allowed students to improve pronunciation, spelling, and tone. Learning English allows these at-risk children to open various employment opportunities for their futures.
Over 11.7 million people are victims of forced labor in Southeast Asia, taking forms of sexual/labor exploitation. According to the International Labour Organization, 34% of human trafficking profits come from Southeast. Worldwide, human trafficking generates $150.3 billion, making it one of the most profitable forms of organized crime.
Interested in combating human trafficking by serving on a mission trip to Thailand? If yes, use the following information to contact Paladin about upcoming team trips in 2020 and 2021.