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Rachel Johnson      

Rachel Johnson / Director of Project Development at Touch A Life Foundation

Touch A Life Foundation inspires others to advocate for trafficked and exploited children.

The Touch A Life Foundation was created in November 1999. Pam and Randy Cope traveled to Southeast Asia to visit some friends who operated an orphanage in Vietnam. The Copes had never experienced anything like the poverty suffered by people there, and as they walked the streets of cities like Saigon and Nha Trang, their hearts began to cleave towards those of the children forced to beg and live in the streets.

After returning home, Pam began to read about the problem of street children in Vietnam, commonly known as doi moi, or “dust of the earth”. She read about the beatings and fear they endured, their hunger and malnutrition, and, worst of all, their chances of being picked up by child traffickers and forced to work in hard labor conditions or sexual bondage. The Copes connected with people who sought to do similar work in Vietnam. They bonded together to determine a way to begin providing for the vulnerable children who had tugged on their heartstrings. The work started out small – they rented a simple apartment in Saigon to house 15 street children. For the first time, these children were provided with three meals a day, clothing, an education, and a closely-knit family. The effort became a preventive measure that prohibited these exploited and vulnerable children from becoming absorbed in the trafficking ring in Southeast Asia. Pam and Randy hoped to do their part to save at least a few more children from this fate, and from a future in slavery. A few months later, they rented another house, brought home 15 more kids, and Touch A Life Foundation was born. Today, the foundation supports over 200 children throughout Vietnam.

Touch A Life expanded to Ghana, West Africa, after Pam and Randy read an article in the New York Times about the thriving child slave trade on Lake Volta.To date, working in partnership with a remarkable team of Ghanaians, Touch A Life has rescued over 90 children from slavery and rented a residential facility where these former slave children can live, receive an education, and have a chance at restoring and rehabilitating their lives.

In 2011, Pam and Randy are just as committed to the work in Ghana as they were the day they read the New York Times article. They feel compelled to raise awareness of the issue of trafficking on Lake Volta and they are dedicated to advocating on behalf of the estimated 7,000 children that are still enslaved there. The work in Ghana is a passion that is shared by the entire Cope family and by the staff members based in Dallas and in West Africa.

Touch A Life is committed to providing holistic customized child care for the children in our programs, complete with regular medical and mental assessments, rehabilitation plans, and educational and vocational empowerment. We hope to equip them with life skills, traditional education, and vocational training to live a full and productive life.

We rescue and empower trafficked and at-risk children in Ghana, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

We form alliances with other organizations to provide customized and holistic long-term child care.

Specialties: anti human trafficking, education, grief education, vunerable children, Lake Volta, holistic child care

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