The Center for Justice and Reconciliation recently announced plans to start crowdfunding its Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund in late October with the goal of providing a year’s worth of education at PLNU.
The new scholarship was created to “support the education of survivors of human trafficking, launch many passionate young people into meaningful careers that tackle modern slavery with wisdom and mentorship and to strengthen the university’s infrastructure to support this level of mentoring,” according to the scholarship’s website, abolishhumantrafficking.com
Beauty for Ashes is one of three subdivisions of the CJR with the intention of working toward abolishing human trafficking.
For survivors of human trafficking, shifting from merely surviving to thriving usually accompanies a desire for an education, according to Kim Berry Jones, a 1990 PLNU alumna who volunteers in external relations for CJR. Higher education, however, is an expensive dream. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011-2012, the average tuition of a private, four-year institution was $33,716 dollars.
“One of the things we found working with survivors of human trafficking is their dream of an education,” said Jones. “You think of an average person trying to pursue an education, it’s a pretty daunting goal. Factor that in with a person who is in the process of reintegrating into society and the idea of getting to go to college, a Christian college where there is that extra level of support, seems like a dream that can’t come true.”
The Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund was created to directly combat the hurdle of affording a private, four-year education by providing tuition to PLNU for a year. In order to gather the necessary funds for their scholarship, the CJR is planning a crowdfund campaign to start in late October.
“It’s possible to give to the fund currently, but we’re trying to launch a crowdfund as the initial seed money and we’re going to have a $40,000 goal,” said Jones. “We’re hoping by the end of the year to have that seed money.”
The CJR, in working with multiple anti-human trafficking organizations, have heard from survivors interested in attending PLNU. Already, one survivor is in the application process to attend PLNU in the spring semester, but the names of the scholarship beneficiaries will be kept private by the CJR.
“It’s not like somebody is going to be a survivor of trafficking and get this scholarship from this fund and everybody knows they are the one who got the scholarship because then they have this huge label,” said Mollie Ah Sing, a lead intern on the project. “We’re not going to know unless they want to be known.”
According to Kim Jones, San Diego is thirteenth in the nation for the amount of people trafficked, mostly due to gangs who profit more in human trafficking than selling weapons. Despite the heavy presence of human trafficking in San Diego, the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund is a unique scholarship.
“[Over the summer] we did quite a bit of surveying and found very little to nothing existing out there quite like this,” said Jones. “And it’s possible that there are scholarships out there that we haven’t uncovered, but it’s definitely a unique idea, especially among universities here in San Diego.”
Donations can be made at http://www.abolishhumantrafficking.com/.