Well after three months of negotiating Good Shepherd Welcome House finally signed a contract to lease a space that will serve as our location for the Cafe Livelihood Project (This was the grant proposal Roy and I wrote which got us $16,000 from the Shelter Foundation in Switzerland to open a cafe that will serve as a training center and income generating project). GSWH signed a contract for two years, and now the fun begins as we try to get our electrical, plumbing and remodeling needs sorted out, followed by some serious deep cleaning, painting and decorating. The ladies at the center are getting really excited and we've been giving them trainings on cooking and restaurant skills. The name and theme of the cafe is still in question but we are aiming to be open by May.
My primary assignment doing advocacy has reached it's sustainability stage. After 18 months of community organizing we are finally seeing our partners in the high schools and the barangay (local government offices) take on stronger leadership roles in implementing advocacy activities. They still need our help- due to a lack of funding and materials but it's been especially wonderful to see the students passionately facilitate seminars for the sole benefit of their peers, and great advocacy ideas have come out of it. Right now we are working on creating Human Trafficking Advisories that we can post in the schools and the barangay. We will also establish a grievance mechanism to assist our partners in reporting HT cases.
With all of these things going on it feels like the next few months will really fly by and my service here will end before I know it. Glad to know I'll be able to finish strong. In the meantime I will continue to make the best of my time working here in my home away from home.