Meet Lorie C.

Lorie was the sixth child of ten born to her mother and father. Her father loved his wife very much, and was devastated when she died.

Lost in grief, he stopped working and though he didn’t realize it, Lorie’s father neglected his children. The little ones also suffered deeply from the loss of their mother.

While navigating her difficult family life, Lorie grew into a shy teenager. Life changed significantly for the fifteen-year-old when a neighbour recruited the young Filipina to work as a house helper in a different city.

Lorie readily accepted, though her hopes of a better life were quickly disappointed.

“I expected Las Piñas to be a busy city,” Lorie told us. “Instead, it was a rural one and reminded me of my home province. This made me cry and long for home.”

It didn’t help that the girl’s employers were unkind.

“Many times I worked with an empty stomach; their children were so cruel to me,” Lorie remembered. “At one point, I couldn’t take it anymore and fought back.”

The teenager called her sister for help and was offered a job. Lorie was told that she would work in a restaurant, but when she arrived in Manila, she discovered the establishment was actually a bar—which in the Philippines are places where too often women are objectified to draw in customers, used to increase alcohol sales, and sold for sex.

Lorie was barely sixteen.

For a time, she served as a waitress during the day. But when her sister asked if she’d like to work the night shift, Lorie agreed.

Thankfully, the bar owner was strictly against his employees leaving with customers, so Lorie was not exploited for sex. However, to earn money, the women had to encourage customers to drink—which required them to drink, too.

The work environment was difficult and demeaning, which is why the two sisters finally left the bar to return to their home province in search of different work.

Eventually, Lorie’s sister would return to the bars to earn more money. But Lorie had witnessed the family life of her coworkers. She saw the disrespectful ways that husbands treated their wives, and Lorie decided she never wanted that life to be her own.

That’s when the young woman met our partner.

Excited to discover a job that paid a fair wage in a safe work environment, Lorie began to embroider handicrafts for the organization, which provides women at risk of or rescued from exploitation with skill training, as well as emotional and spiritual care.

At first, Lorie was frustrated with her work, which she found boring and was tempted to give up.

Remember, people in poverty are people: much like yourself, they have their own interests, passions, and motivations, as well as their own dislikes. Though people like Lorie are presented with less options for employment, it would be unfair to assume that they would enjoy any job, when many of us have the luxury of choosing our preferred employment.

However, we were proud to watch Lorie remain committed to her job and continue to learn a trade that would give her dignity and a living wage. And over time, Lorie thankfully discovered a better skill to devote herself to:

“I am fond of making jewelry,” she told us. “And what I am earning is a big help to my family.”

That’s right: Lorie is now married to a man who is respectful, despite Lorie’s difficult past, and they have two daughters together. The young woman has also learned to read since we began purchasing her handicrafts, and is finishing her high school diploma.

Though Lorie was once a shy teenager, we have witnessed her grow into a resilient, hard-working leader among the other women that she works alongside.

Thank you for partnering with Lorie and for creating opportunities for her to provide for herself and her family—you are truly changing lives, one purchase at a time.