STARFISH PROJECT

REQUEST: $2,200 to cover 10 1/2 months of rent for Starfish Project’s photography studio

Our counseling center is located in Chiang Mai, Thailand where we provide counseling and trainings.

  • Population: 1,394,015,977
  • Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (official); Yue (Cantonese)

  • Religions: Buddhist, Folk religion, Christian

  • Median Age: 38.4 years

Starfish Project cares for women and girls escaping human trafficking and exploitation in China. We help these women experience freedom, establish independence, and develop careers through our social enterprise jewelry business and holistic care program. We provide women in our program employment opportunities, counseling, discipleship, education, vocational training, healthcare, and safe housing.

Over the past 14 years, we have trained over 150 exploited women and girls in safe and stable professions such as accounting, graphic design, and photography. Five women are currently learning photography from professional photographers and mentors, and three of them, Mae Lee, June, and Bai, have become our company’s product and model photographers and editors. We would like to convert an empty room in our office building into a photography training room and studio for our women, and we are requesting $2,200 out of the total $2,500 needed to cover one year of rent. Our requested amount will cover 10 ½ months of rent for the photography studio.

Though we are excited to see our photographers’ skills and confidence grow, we do not have the space to accommodate their development. When any of our photographers need to take pictures of our jewelry, they are often crammed into the back corner of our jewelry production room with little space to complete their work. When our photographers need more space, they often take over other rooms in our office that are used for essential activities like counseling sessions and meetings. By renting out an additional room for our photography training room and studio, Mae Lee, June, Bai, and other women who want to learn photography will have the needed space to develop their skills without competing for other essential office and workshop spaces.

Bai, one of our product and model photographers. In this photo, she is using our small counseling room to complete her product photography.

Mae Lee – A Story of Hope

Mae Lee was trafficked to Greece before she came to work at Starfish Project. Today, she is studying photography and Greek, and she takes product photos for all our jewelry!

Mae Lee, one of our product and model photographers.

Story

A new photography training room and studio will also help us restore hope for women like Mae Lee. Now one of our most experienced photographers, Mae Lee was trafficked to Greece by her own mother when she was just 15 years old. She stayed in Greece for six years before an organization helped her return to China. Starfish Project stepped in and offered Mae Lee a new beginning. She has worked on our jewelry production team and even though she only had a primary education, she served as our Finished Products Manager. She is now a vital member of our marketing team as our product and model photographer. Mae Lee also got married and just returned from maternity leave after giving birth to a baby girl last Christmas.

Through our photography training room and studio, not only will Mae Lee be able to develop her skills, but she’ll also be able to train other women at Starfish Project and provide a safe and stable future for herself, her husband, and her baby girl.

“Starfish Project is such a healthy company. I have learned that growth is a personal choice and it is up to each person to take advantage of the opportunities they have been given. I have big dreams and I can’t wait to actually achieve them!”

– Mae Lee

HEALTH / HYGIENE

FAMILY / COMMUNITY CARE

FOOD

THEOLOGY

EDUCATION / TRAINING

INFORMATION / RESEARCH

EQUIPMENT / TOOLS

MATERIALS

RENOVATION / MAINTENANCE

ADMINISTRATION

TRAVEL

OTHER

* Highlighted budget icons apply to this grant

Budget

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DescriptionCost
10 1/2 months rent – photography studio$2,200
Total Budget Requested:$2,200

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