Point Loma Nazarene University is offering a bundle of hope to human trafficking survivors who desire to earn a college degree by offering them a full-ride scholarship.
PLNU, a private Christian university located in San Diego, officially launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign today with a goal to raise $40,000 in 40 days to fund the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund, named in reference to the Bible verse Isaiah 61:3.
San Diego is the 13th highest child prostitution area in the country, according to the FBI and PLNU’s Center for Justice & Reconciliation (CJR) resource website, Abolish Human Trafficking. The site also says 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, and it’s the second largest source of illegal income in the world.
“One of the things we are hearing over and over again…is that (the survivors) so badly want a college education, but that just seems so completely out of the realm of possibility for them,” says Kim Jones, external relations volunteer at CJR. “Many of them, when they’re rescued, don’t even have their high school diploma.”
While being accepted into the university and receiving the scholarship is one thing, being successful throughout the four years or so it takes to earn a degree is another. So PLNU is developing a plan to ensure the survivors, who will remain anonymous among the student population, get the support they’ll need to succeed.
“We’re in the process of developing that plan, and it starts with the fact that anybody that applies for the scholarship will need to be referred in by a direct service agency, so that they already have some connection to some agency in town that has been working with them and knows their story and knows what level of support they need,” Jones says.
The $40,000 would cover one year’s cost of attendance for one person, but the university hopes to be able to help more.
Source: USA Today | Ben Sheffler