We now have the opportunity to truly empower our current partner community in Cambodia through their local market. Our artisans will transition from making jewelry for consumers in North America to sewing for the local market and jewelry production will restart in new, strategic locations.
Why the change in Freedom Stones?
Our goal has always been to end or prevent trafficking in the communities where we work. In the last 4 years, we have directly employed 120+ survivors or at risk artisans across Ghana, Thailand, and Cambodia, providing fair employment, holistic training, opportunities to further their education and career dreams, and most importantly introduced them to Christ and healthy community.
By training our artisans in sewing skills, providing the tools required to compete in the local market, and by connecting them to local buyers, our artisans are enabled to create a co-operative that will bring an income, offer them local career opportunities, and secure the chance of a secondary education.
Will you still be selling jewelry and what will happen to the money if I purchase any pieces going forward?
Jewelry made by our artisans will remain available for sale online at www.freedomstones.org. All proceeds and/or donations will be used to empower women previously enslaved in prostitution throughout SE Asia, including Pattaya, Thailand. Start shopping now.
To accomplish this, Freedom Stones US headquarters is merging with Not Abandoned (www.notabandoned.org). This merger is a very exciting opportunity! Not Abandoned’s work in Pattaya, Thailand, and mission across SE Asia, is the same as Freedom Stones, to break the chains of poverty and injustice for women and children who have been affected by human trafficking. Because of the larger size of Not Abandoned and their access to resources in the Seattle area and beyond, the opportunity for growth and expansion of the work of Freedom Stones is great. We anticipate that many more women will be positively impacted and empowered by this merger.
Why merge with Not Abandoned?
Not Abandoned has many supporters, one of which is Overlake Christian Church, in Kirkland, WA. Overlake Christian church has been a long-term and critical supporter of Freedom Stones’ since the inception of Freedom Stones. This common connection led to the opportunity for a merger. The resources at hand for Not Abandoned and their similar mission with women in Thailand, allows for expansion and growth in Freedom Stones. We are very excited about the opportunity to increase the impact of the Freedom Stones’ model and mission throughout SE Asia and beyond.
What will happen to the Freedom Stones’ artisans? What impact has FS made for these artisans?
Our goal has always been to end or prevent trafficking in the communities where we work. In the last 4 years, we have directly employed 120+ survivors or at risk artisans across Ghana, Thailand, and Cambodia, providing fair employment, holistic training, opportunities to further their education and career dreams, and most importantly introduced them to Christ and healthy community. We now have the opportunity to truly empower our current partner community in Cambodia through their local market. Our artisans will transition from making jewelry for consumers in N. America to sewing for the local market.
Freedom Stones worked in Pattaya, Thailand, for 4 years, from mid 2009 through August 2013. All of the artisans who worked with us in Pattaya experienced healthy and fair employment, holistic training, opportunities to further their education and career dreams, and most importantly they were introduced to Christ and healthy community. Each of the 3 artisans working with Freedom Stones as of August 2013 have moved into new jobs. They are doing well and continue to be involved in church or connected to our partner, Pattaya Slum Ministries. Through Not Abandoned, our artisans will have the opportunity to continue to use their skills and earn an income.
Freedom Stones has been working in Poipet, Cambodia, since Jan 2011. Our current artisan group has been employed part-time for 2 years. This part-time work has enabled them to complete both 7th and 8th grades and has prevented them from being trafficked into Thailand. Each of our artisans has signed up for their 9th grade year, a rare and unique opportunity for children in the Poipet rural area where drop out rates historically reach 75%+ between 6th to 9thgrade. Freedom Stones will support them through the end of their 9th grade year, ending the program in July 2014. They have been given the opportunity to join a sewing co-operative part time, the first opportunity like it in their community. Through this co-op they can earn the income they need to support themselves to begin their secondary education. This year in the same community, 23 students have signed up for 9th grade, compared to only 9 last year, and 60+ students have signed up for 6th grade, almost double the previous year. The examples of our artisans and the value they place on their education, the benefit of their leadership in their school and community, has positively influenced other families and is creating a new wave of educated students. Freedom Stones is incredibly proud of the lasting impact made in this rural community.