We specifically engage with centers that work with women and girls who have been exploited and marginalized to provide them with the skills and wages they need to rebuild their lives. At these centers, victims of sex slavery and human trafficking learn that they have value, that they are capable, that they are loved, and that healing is possible. Our partners teach women not only to make the products we sell, but also how a business works, and how to use their skills to help others. When women are empowered by employment and education, the cycle of vulnerability and extreme poverty is broken for generations.
Here are a few stories of real women helped at our partner centers
After Tuey's parents divorced, she was sent to live with her grandmother, who eventually sent her to an orphanage. Being part of the Hmong minority group and an orphan, Tuey grew up with first hand understanding of vulnerable situations, yet was able to put herself through college by sewing and selling her handcrafted items. Understanding that training removes vulnerabilities that often lead to exploitation, Tuey now trains and provides dignified employment for other women in marginalized situations. Her center, Dream Weaver has worked with us in making our Professional Purses, Volleyball Bags, and Yoga Mat Bags.
"At 15, I ran away from home and from a stepfather who abused me. Desperation for survival forced me to sell my body and my self-respect. When I thought I had reached my end, I met two women from Starfish Project. I left the dark world I was in and came to work at their jewelry company. As I grew and matured, they showed me unconditional love, warmth, and kindness........Read More
"At age 14, Li Meng Zhu was a good student. Yet when it came time to enroll in high school, despite her teacher's recommendation, her father said he wouldn't waste money on a girl's high school education.
Angered by his refusal, she stopped be a relative's house instead of going home from school. There she met an older woman who, to the naive Li Meng Zhu, seemed to know a lot about the city life and life in general.
At the end of the meal, the woman invited Li Meng Zhu to go to the city with her for a day trip. Still angry with her father, she decided it would be a good way to get back at him."Just let him worry a little," she thought. The woman promised her she'd be back within 24 hours........Read More