Girl, 12, on a mission: Help Asia’s enslaved girls
Twelve-year-old Caroline Statzer is clearly on a mission. It is one aimed at providing needed items for girls in Cambodia after they are rescued from that nation’s notorious sex trade.
Caroline’s Little Princess Project is making a personal difference in the lives of young girls who already have seen horrors that many of us could never imagine.
Caroline makes a host of different items from T-shirts and sells them on Facebook and at a local women’s ministry shop in Fayetteville. The funds raised go to girls once trapped in the sex trafficking industry in Cambodia, with a smaller percentage designated for a local safe house project for girls.
Residing today in Newnan, the family has lived in Coweta and Fayette counties for the past 14 years. Caroline attends Trinity Christian School where her mother Kim is a teacher. Caroline arrived at the idea for the project by way of a challenge from her parents.
“When I turned 12 my parents gave me a teen challenge,” Carolina said.
That challenge came with a half-dozen components covering both spiritual and physical aspects of life, “Areas to grow in before becoming a teen. Areas to look beyond herself. One of those was a missions challenge to research a topic and raise $300 to help fund it,” Kim said of the challenge that came in November.
“I didn’t have a mission, but God put this one on my heart,” Caroline added, explaining how she arrived at a decision for her mission in December. “We were coming back from church. I was thinking about my project and almost immediately God put it on my heart. The Bible says we’re His children and heirs to the throne. So we’re like little princes and princesses. That’s why I called it the Little Princess Project.”
Caroline knew of someone who went to Cambodia and worked with girls at the She Rescue Home. The home serves as a haven for young Cambodian girls who are at risk or have been rescued from being trafficked in the sex industry. Once at the home, the girls receive a safe and secure place to live, medical attention and counseling, and vocational and educational training.
The organization’s website, www.sherescuehome.org, notes that the Cambodian minister of Women’s Affairs estimates that approximately 30,000 young children are being exploited in the country’s sex trade.
“There are 27 million slaves in the world today. And these girls are forced into it so they or their families can keep their lives. They have no choice,” Caroline said. “It’s not right. It’s messed up. God didn’t want it like this.”
Caroline said the idea for making the items to market came after she saw a website dedicated to project ideas.
“One of those was making scarves from T-shirts. I realized that if my friends liked them then other people might like them,” said Caroline. And she was right. They also liked the vests, keychains, lanyards, bracelets and dog toys, all made from T-shirts.
Commenting on the project, Kim explained that some of the family’s friends had asked if Caroline might be too young to engage in a subject like the sex trafficking of children.
“I’m not going to sugar-coat the realities,” Kim said, adding that it is not her intention to expose Caroline to all of life’s sordid tragedies. “I want my kids to know what their purpose is, to make a difference in life through Jesus. It’s not about us and she’s not too young for me to always want her to have a mindset that centers on how she can help others.”
Caroline started with a goal of raising $300 to meet her missions challenge. To date she’s raised $700 through sales and has a new goal of $1,000.
Accessing the rescue home’s website, Caroline can determine some of the personal items the girls need and she can purchase them online.
Reflecting on Caroline’s mission and the greater need to bring awareness and even an end to child slavery, Kim said, “Anybody can help in many areas. If everybody steps out just a little, things would be so much better for so many people. The things we do matter. Those girls in slavery can’t do anything about it. We all have to step out and everybody can do something. Whether monetary or some other way, we’ve got to think outside ourselves and help somebody else.
Though the majority of the money raised goes to the She Rescue Home a smaller percentage of the funds go to the safe house project at the Passion City Church in Atlanta where the Statzer family attends.
Caroline’s handmade items and prices are featured on Facebook on the “Little Princess Project” and can be ordered from the website. Click on the photo section for more information and pricing. They can also be purchased in Fayetteville at the Touching Hearts gift shop located at 140 Kathi Avenue.
Sitting on the porch of her grandparents’ home south of Fayetteville and talking about the Little Princess Project, it was clear that Caroline is doing more than wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. Having turned her thoughts into action, she is being the difference in their lives.