U.S. project weaves “threads of hope” to save PH kids from prostitution

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 9, 2014

NEW YORK – The Threads of Hope colorful bracelets may look like just ordinary friendship bands that young kids trade with other kids

But thanks to these “Threads of Hope”, poor families in the Philippines are given opportunities to make steady income and keep their kids away from prostitution.

Threads of Hope is a livelihood project initiated by Alex and Chris Kuhlow of the Calvary Bible Church in Neenah, Wis. The ministry now has a base in Puerto Galera in the Philippines.

Marilyn Missler said it was founded 11 years ago when the missionary couple realized that young Filipina girls were being forced into prostitution just to support their families.

“So they began to buy bracelets from a girl by the name of Elona, and their first purchase was a hundred dollars. They then got 1,300 of the little round bracelets from Elona,” Marilyn Missler of Threads of Hope said, “They then took those to the states and sold them, realized what the profit potential was and how that could help the families took the profit back to Elona.”

More than $1,000 was made from that initial investment of a hundred dollars.

Missler says all they wanted was to help one family escape from poverty and prostitution.

Today, some 700 Filipinos are earning a steady income making these bracelets, bringing back a sense of dignity to a group of people who are clinging to a thread of hope.

“I believe it’s been extremely successful. The women no longer have to be out on the beaches where it’s dangerous. But more importantly, they do not need to pull their children out of school to be out on the beaches. So the children are able to finish their education. Missler said.

“But most importantly to us, we are being able to express God’s love,” she said.

Missler said they are always on the lookout to find larger markets for these bracelets. Each thread of hope sold means at least one child in the Philippines is saved from being lured into prostitution.

“What they can learn is that there is hope beyond that choice. And if they’ve been trapped into that choice, there are ways out. You just have to look for them,” Missler said.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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