VALENCIA (SPAIN), MAY 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).-A Spanish missionary has already kept at least 1,000 women from turning to prostitution by training them for worthy jobs.
Sister Consuelo Garcia of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary has worked in Thailand for the past 9 years. She is director of Ban Maria (Mary´s House), a school-residence in Chiangmai, a village in the north of the country.
At present, 65 young women from different tribes of the area, between the ages of 15 to 18, receive free formation.
“Due to separation from the family, poverty, and ignorance, the majority of youths of the region suffer from marginalization and exploitation,” Sister Consuelo Garcia explained to ZENIT.
The religious works primarily with “victims of prostitution and AIDS, daughters of drug addicts, often coming from families with no identity papers or with serious family problems,” she said.
The school-residence offers a 2-year course in dressmaking, design, typing, mathematics, languages, and computer science, as well as health, moral, social, and religious education.
100% of the young women who take the course find jobs in industry and workshops of the Chiangmai region, “because there is a great demand for dressmakers and exports have grown extraordinarily,” the missionary pointed out.
Many of the young women work as dressmakers in their villages, or as teachers in kindergartens and even as assistants in programs for the promotion of women in State organizations and NGOs.
Other graduates of the school-residence have their own dressmaking shops, working in Ban Maria. 10 others have even started to study for a licentiate, through a long-distance University course.
The religious of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary keep an adjacent building to Ban Maria to house an additional 112 young women between the ages of 17 and 27. All of the latter have jobs.