The other day I mentioned that I was able to hear a presentation by Kerry Hilton, the founder of Freeset. I am not much of a soap-boxy kind of gal here on Comfortably Domestic, but this is one organization that I just had to talk about.
——————————-Here are a few snippets of the Freeset philosophy, taken from their website:
In Business For Freedom:
Freeset exists specifically to provide freedom for women from the sex trade, women who were forced into prostitution by trafficking or poverty. These women didn’t choose their profession — it was chosen for them.
Freeset uses an “upside down” model that turns the normal principles of running a business on their head. Businesses generally choose the best people for a job and pay them the lowest possible wages. Here, women are employed on the basis of their need for freedom, rather than their qualifications – many have had little or no schooling. They are trained and then paid well above the going market rate. The transformation in women’s lives is clearly apparent, simply because they’ve been given a chance.
The women actively engage in running the business. They have their own committee which liaises with management to ensure their voices are heard. This committee has the final say over many internal decisions and issues relating to employees.
Although a business, Freeset is also a community. The women are often dealing with health problems (including HIV/AIDS), and psychological effects from abuse and exclusion from society. This makes for a challenging workplace and much effort is put into creating a compassionate environment where the women are supported and their needs met.
However, Freeset isn’t just about the transformation of individual lives; it’s also about transformation of the wider community. The Freeset women leave the sex trade but continue to live in their old rooms and neighborhood as agents of change. The dream is that some day the largest, most infamous sex district in Kolkata will be transformed into a safe community that respects the dignity of women and offers new opportunities to their children.
All profits from Freeset in Kolkata benefit the women (salary, health insurance and retirement plan) and are used to grow —the business. This means more women can be employed and experience freedom.——————————–
I also had the opportunity to handle the bags made by the women of Freeset. These bags are where durability-meets-fashion-meets-function. They are so stinkin’ cute!
So maybe because I was inspired by the work that Kerry and his friends do, or because Hubby is travelling all week, or possibly because the Baby plucked my camera battery out of the charger and hid it in Parts Unknown (to me,) I’m going to give away a Freeset bag to one of my sweet Friends that read my bloggy ramblings.
That’s you! You’re the Friends! (International Friends–you are included, too.)
Cluster bag – Andrea Moore print
Features: Jute shoulder strap with black cotton lining, internal cell phone pocket and purse, 1-color Andrea Moore print
Fastener: Magnetic closure
Color: (b) Parchment/Black (the one on the left in the photo)