Delhi's Health Crisis

New Delhi is in a public health emergency crisis. It is considered the world's most polluted city.  Over 6,000 schools have been closed for over a week. The US Embassy in New Delhi which measures the Air Quality Index and on Monday November 6th they estimated it was at 999. To give you an example of how bad this is, most extremely hazardous levels are 500. Beijing, China which is known for being a polluted city is at 298 currently. Experts say breathing the air is the same as smoking 45 cigarettes a day. 

Yes, New Delhi is a gas chamber. 

Image from: Firstpost published on Nov. 7, 2017

Image from Firstpost

To educate the women and children we work with on the severity of this problem our social worker, Monika spent the after explaining pollution, its impact on health and on the environment as well as prevention. There was laughter, discussion, and YouTube videos to add to the conversation. After an hour our seamstresses warmed-up to the idea and took to their machines. They were able to fashion simple dust masks that are both cute and protect from dust inhalation.

Make sure you are staying indoors if you are living in New Delhi and if you have to go outside please get a mask and be safe. 

 

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Things You Can Do To Help End Slavery Right Now

It can be overwhelming when you read articles or statistics about human trafficking saying that there are 21 million and 45 million people enslaved around the world or see how trafficking make over $150 billion each year. It seems daunting.

However, there are things everyone can do right now to help.

1. Put the National Trafficking Hotline in your phone. Call if you have any suspicions that anyone is being enslaved (learn the signs here) 1-888-373-7888 

2. Find out how many slaves are working for you based on the products you buy: slaveryfootprint.org

3. Did you know coffee beans and chocolate are one of the leading products harvested by slaves? A Fair Trade label ensures a slave-free product. Download this Slave Free Buying Guide from End Slavery Now to learn about Fair Trade.

4. Discover how others are fighting slavery around the world and be inspired tipheroes.org

5. Watch the documentary I am Jane Doe (available on Netflix) it follows real cases of American girls enslaved in the child sex trade through ads in a newspaper's online classified section.

 

6. Take action by calling Congress to strengthen policies and practices to get us one step closer to ending modern slavery polarisproject.org/action

Lastly, by supporting organizations (like SNF!) by purchasing products made by survivors you are making a huge impact by giving them a fair wage. The next time you need to purchase a gift or just want something special for yourself please check out To The Market  a curated marketplace where everything is made by survivors. Together we can make a difference! 

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Meet Jaden & Darien SNF Interns!

As high school students, we never thought that we would be able to make a difference in our global community. We live in Pensacola, a small city in Northwest Florida, and attend a local high school where we participate in the International Baccalaureate Program. On the basis of where we were born, we were afforded opportunities that are not given to women in other countries. We, for the most part have the ability to make and choose our own path. For many women, this is not their reality. As female American teenagers, we are encouraged to finish and go beyond high school to obtain a stable career and income to support our families. On the other side of the world, a woman my age has to make a challenging decision to continue with school, or create a stable income for her family through prostitution forced into it by her in-laws. As we dove deeper into understanding different cultural norms, this came as a shock. The complete parallel between our lives and theirs challenged us to find a way to make an effective impact. When we discovered Sewing New Futures and what they stood for, wanting to make a contribution was unquestionable.

 During our first meeting with a representative of Sewing New Futures, we learned so much about the Indian women they work with. They are the same age as us but go through so many difficulties. We developed a personal relationship with the organization. We figured out ways in which we could utilize our resources as high school students to best contribute to the organization.

As interns, we are tasked with fundraising by advocating through sales and advertisements. We have assembled a campaign at our school where we sell Sewing New Futures merchandise to our peers. We often sell at annual and monthly local festivals where we advocate for the women in one on one encounters with members of our community.

This took us out of our comfort zones because we were put in a position where we had to advocate on behalf of someone else, we gained skills that we will utilize forever. One of our fundraisers was a bake sale and through that bake sale, we were able to raise enough money to fund an entire classroom full of desks for the women’s children so they can have a proper space to learn and grow.

Being aware of the difference we have made and continue to make has made us more globally and culturally aware and caused us to have experiences we will remember for life. Our work with Sewing New Futures and the women in India has changed the fabric of our being! 

Written by Jaden Wielhouwer & Darien Home 

 

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SNF + Hurricane Harvey - a letter from Kristin

Last week, Hurricane Harvey gave "unprecedented" flooding. Rains up to 50 inches in Houston, Texas with thousands forced to flee their homes. This impacted me personally because my younger brother, Paul lives in Houston. While thankfully he is safe, I heard his first hand account. I saw his photos, videos, and heard about his friends being rescued by boats from their homes being flooded. 

                                                                                                                                                     

                  

Images shared by Paul Braddock

 

One of our goals as an organization is to provide under privileged children in the communities we work in with education, health services, art and dance therapy and other much needed social services to protect them from abuse and ensure they have a chance at the childhood they deserve. 

We want to support Houston by donating to Save the Children's relief efforts.  There are thousands of displaced families, 60% with infants and toddlers seeking refuge from Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic flooding. There is a necessary need for equipment and services to keep these children safe. Sewing New Futures is an organization committed to helping children. 

We are going to donate $5 of every ikat scarf sold in our Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund collection to Save the Children which will go their baby kits which will give parents affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas vital supplies they need.

Our goal is to donate at least 4 baby kits which will deliver family-friendly relief supplies including cribs, strollers, changing tables,, baby shampoo, diapers and baby-safe portable tubs.

To learn more about where the funding is going download this fact sheet

 

 

 

 

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5 Common Myths about Human Trafficking

Today, July 30th is UN’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Human trafficking has gotten a lot of attention over the years in the media, and while most people have an understanding of the problem. It is especially important to go through some common myths, because when we understand what trafficking is and why it occurs then we can know what we can do about it.

 

Myth #1: Human trafficking refers only to the sex industry

Trafficking in persons is a modern form of slavery, and it is the largest manifestation of slavery today. According to the State department at least 700,000 persons annually, primarily women and children, are trafficked within or across international borders. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year. This crime includes forced labor and involves significant violations of labor not just sex crimes.

My first time seeing first hand how horrific labor trafficking was in New Delhi, India when I was volunteering with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an organization that has rescued over 86,000 from forced labor. In Asia, trafficking for forced labor is twice as common as trafficking for sexual exploitation. From 2007-2011, there was an 8% increase in the number of victims trafficked for labor.

Labor trafficking is not just happening in Asia. It happens in America as well. I am currently living in Ohio where right down the road from me Harold and Dancy D'Souza were trapped in bondage for over 19 months

 

Image from Polaris Project

Myth #2: People wouldn’t be trafficked if they knew the risks of working in another country.

Just like the D’Souza family many come to the US or other countries searching for a new life. Harold had obtained in a manufacturing company but instead got 19 months living “like rats.”. According to a recent World Vision study The lure of escaping poverty is more powerful than perceived risk of exploitation, which found that though the majority of migrants were aware of migration-related trafficking risks, knowledge was not enough to deter 3 to 5 million people from seeking employment in neighboring countries. 

Myth #3: Poverty and trafficking have nothing to do with each other.

Isolation from community or lack of language skills makes it hard for trafficked victims to understand their rights. Illegal immigrants are threatened with exposure and arrest, and choose exploitative conditions as the lesser evil of the two. Many do not even consider themselves trafficked, and work for years on the promise of a wage one day, after their debt of migration has finally been paid off.  

Poverty is the reason the the community we work with in New Delhi, India is trapped in the vicious cycle of Intergenerational Prostitution. Due to poverty prostitution is looked upon as lucrative means of employment. Which is why children are forced into marriage by the time they reach puberty. In most cases these young sex workers will be forced to drop out of school to earn money, rendering themselves ineligible for higher levels of employment and more lucrative and sustainable jobs in the future. These children are left with little choice, over their life; which is what our organization is trying to give back to them- choice.

Myth #4: Trafficking occurs when men exploit women & girls.

According to the State Department men and boys represent nearly HALF of the total number of human trafficking victims; yet the identification and proper care of male victims remains an enormous challenge to governments and care providers around the world. 

Myth #5: I don't have anything to do with trafficking.

If we refused to buy products that supported by human trafficking of every kind the demand for forced labor in these industries would be non-existent, and there would be no incentive to exploit innocent people.  This could be anything from not purchasing pornography, supporting buying clothing made by children or drinking coffee from underpaid workers. But, how do you know?  The best way to figure out how your daily choices make an impact on others is to take the Slavery Footprint survery. Supporting social enterprises by buying products made from survivors (like Sewing New Futures!)  is a great way to help end trafficking as well. 

Give us your thoughts! What is one small step you can take in your everyday life today to help end trafficking? 

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