Salt & Light: Yuan Yuan's Story
The Salt and Light Collection highlights one of our core beliefs that the tiniest pinprick of light permeates even the darkest places of the world. Yuan Yuan is a woman who strengthened this conviction of ours when a simple scrap of paper, coupled with her immense courage, gave her a lifeline to escape from a hopeless situation.
Yuan Yuan is from Shan State in Northeastern Myanmar. She grew up with five siblings in a very poor area. When she was sixteen years old, her father died suddenly from a snakebite, pushing the family into extreme poverty and debt. Yuan Yuan traveled to the city to try to find a job to support her family. After being unsuccessful, a rickshaw driver suggested a job in a massage parlor and took her there to see it. Once inside, the boss paid the rickshaw driver his agent fee and locked Yuan Yuan in a room for three days. When she refused to work as a prostitute, she was beaten and starved into submission. Her boss was incredibly violent, and she witnessed horrific crimes during the seven months that she was trapped there.
Yuan Yuan began contemplating suicide, until one night our Outreach Team met her and gave her gifts and the opportunity to come to Eden and join our program. She told them that this was the first time she had felt hope in a very long time.
Our team stealthily scribbled our phone number on a small scrap of paper and placed it in her hand under the watchful eyes of her boss. A few days later Yuan Yuan called back with incredible news. She had escaped from the brothel with another girl and had driven off in a taxi. We gave the taxi driver our address and within minutes she arrived at our Eden shelter.
A brief moment of light and hope allowed Yuan Yuan to find the power and strength to escape a crushingly dark situation.
"The tiniest pinprick of light permeates the darkness."
As she healed from her physical and mental scars, Yuan Yuan gained much-needed self-worth from Eden’s Identity and Confidence course. Her warm personality and hopeful spirit always bring joy to others as she dreams about her future and becomes empowered to achieve those dreams.
Now, Yuan Yuan’s incredible artistic abilities are beginning to
emerge through art therapy and her photography classes. Eden was recently able to reunite Yuan Yuan with her family, who were overjoyed to find her again after she went missing for more than a year. The Salt & Light Collection uses the imagery of salt and light as metaphors. It speaks of the hope that is created when we stand together and commit to bringing love and empowerment to women like Yuan Yuan.
(Photographs include new pieces available November 2020)