The aka design project was set up to assist young people at risk through the provision of employment opportunities in village areas. The project creates and produces high quality handmade greetings cards and envelopes. We are also developing a range of new craft products, including jewellery and ceramics.
We provide safe housing, vocational training and skills development to the project participants, giving them more opportunities and choices for their futures, and helping them to be self sufficient. The focus of the project is to assist and provide employment to young adults who have finished school but are still at risk from the dangers of exploitation.
The Akha are a hill tribe people who live in very remote mountain villages in northern Thailand, in the centre of the infamous 'Golden Triangle'. It is an area renowned for drug production, human trafficking and poverty. Many Akha people are illiterate and have little or no formal education. This has left many children and young people of this region vulnerable to exploitation.
Unaware of the real dangers awaiting their children, parents are encouraged to allow traffickers to take their children in exchange for financial rewards. Parents are promised employment for their children but in fact, most end up imprisoned in brothels or forced into other forms of slavery. Others, sometimes as young as 11 or 12, have no choice but to travel into surrounding towns and cities in search of work. Here, they too are often taken advantage of and forced into prostitution or slavery in order to survive.