‘The staff at Shine have always encouraged me to follow my passions’

Shine Career School was created to assist young girls who are survivors of sex trafficking in their academic studies using trauma-informed care, and to broaden their opportunities in life. Our caring and professional staff help them realise they are capable of anything and that their potential is limitless.

We want to recognise one student in particular and tell her story. Her name is Sophal*.

When Sophal was referred to Hope for Justice in Cambodia – our Dream Home residential facility and Shine School for treatment and education – she was extremely quiet and shy; she hadn’t been exposed to a decent standard of education so all she wanted to do was play.

The team at Shine worked closely with her every day and, after time, started to notice big strides in her outlook, emotionally and intellectually.

Hope for Justice has gone above and beyond to make sure her family are supported. She has good contact with them and takes regular home visits.

Sola Long, Legal and Social Work Director at Hope for Justice Cambodia, says Sophal “is very happy and stable knowing that her brother, mother and sister are supported and safe”.

Sophal is looking towards her future and speaks frequently with the Career and Education Advisor at Shine about possibilities for future study. Sophal’s skills lie in art and design, particularly computer design and interior design. She would like a good job and to study at university to attain a bachelor’s degree.

She said: “Shine provides me with the resources I need: teachers, art material and vocational training. The staff at Shine have always encouraged me to follow my passions.”

Her tutors and supervisors have noticed the potential in her and you can hear their joy when they talk about her future.

Sam Onn, Director of Operations at Shine, said: “Sophal is a girl who has always focused on her goal and keeps moving forward. I have known her since she started at Shine and she has grown academically. It became clear to us that she has a real talent for design, both drawing and computers. I would love for her to become the best that she can in design so that she can be a role model for all girls around the country.”

Andrea Bailey, Career and Education Director at Shine, added: “I have really enjoyed getting to know Sophal. She is someone who is patient and cares for her peers dearly. She loves to have fun, is a good student and leads by example.

Sophal is a quiet girl, but her smile lights up a room. She is kind-hearted, loving and extremely determined and has a lot of exciting potential.

Sophal wanted to pass her own message along: “I would like to thank everyone that supports Hope for Justice. You provide me with the means to study, a place to stay and encourage me to keep studying and have a stronghold for life.”

Sophal has only just started at graphic design school – this is one of her first projects! We are looking forward to seeing her work develop as she progresses in her studies and her career.

*Name changed for the survivor’s protection