1 Girl + 1 Bead = A Chance for a Life of Freedom

FAIR Fund recently launched JewelGirls, an art-therapy, economic independence, and social integration program teaching young women survivors of human trafficking to make and sell jewelry that allows each purchaser to become part of her recovery.

About You

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Location

Project Street Address

Project City

Project Province/State

Project Postal/Zip Code

Project Country

n/a

Your idea

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Sector Focus

Civil society

Year the initative began (yyyy)

2007

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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram

Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Vulnerability of targeted populations

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Increase community resilience

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

This field has not been completed. (333 words or less)

Name Your Project

1 Girl + 1 Bead = A Chance for a Life of Freedom

Describe Your Idea

FAIR Fund recently launched JewelGirls, an art-therapy, economic independence, and social integration program teaching young women survivors of human trafficking to make and sell jewelry that allows each purchaser to become part of her recovery.

Innovation

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What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

FAIR Fund recently launched JewelGirls, an art-therapy, economic independence, and social integration program teaching young women survivors of human trafficking to make and sell jewelry that allows each purchaser to become part of her recovery.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Last winter on a FAIR Fund trip, I met a young Roma girl inside a house where she was being exploited. I was wearing a necklace that I had made and she asked if I could teach her to do the same. I promised I would. One year later, JewelGirls brings together 26 girl survivors of human trafficking and abuse who are determining their path to safety and independence through jewelry making. JewelGirls is an innovative and hopeful effort to engage girl survivors in the creative process to determine their own path to safety and resiliency while also generating a sustainable income. Now, after the initial investment of beads and a safe space, the jewelry sales sustain the program costs and the proceeds directly support the services they need to recover and rejoin society. When someone purchases their jewelry, whether they are a local service provider or a high school girl in Boston, they become part of each girl’s process of recovery from human trafficking.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

JewelGirls is implemented through an open model that ensures each girl’s needs, past experiences, and future hopes are taken into consideration. Each week, our girls come together at the workshops to create jewelry that is then marketed internationally and locally – each piece being physical evidence of the resiliency and social capital that each girl embodies. Through our workshops each jewel girl learns to trust, makes new friends, establishes networks with the community, and finally begins to understand how to be safe and independent.

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

The business model of the JewelGirls pilot program can be easily and systematically replicated in other parts of the world where FAIR Fund has strong community networks and cultural understandings. We are learning from each of the girls what it means to survive human trafficking and safely reenter society. What’s more, we hope to deliver a new line of cause marketed jewelry that will be unique to the JewelGirls program and helps to publicize the need for rehabilitation and re-integration services for victimized young people. In partnership with jewelry designers, manufacturers, and retailers, the JewelGirls brand line will raise funds and awareness while also facilitating expansion and strengthening our capacity to assist survivors of human trafficking and exploitation. FAIR Fund currently has plans to expand the program to Russia, Kenya, and Moldova. JewelGirls can also be an effective program to prevent human trafficking by engaging and supporting girls at high risk of human trafficking, included orphaned, street-involved, and runaway girls.

Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?

FAIR Fund works closely with local youth and women's organizations in order to create sustainable linkages and a circle of community support for each of our JewelGirls. In fact, some of our workshops take place at the shelters and youth centers operated by our partners. Furthermore, we have created partnerships with lawyers, medical advocates, and media to ensure that our girls now have support and that the community as a whole becomes more aware, more supportive, and finally more resilient in its efforts to prevent human trafficking and provide services to girl victims. I have personally seen so many victimized girls on the streets in Serbia. Our careful partnerships and community relationships is critical to effecting long-term change.

Impact

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Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

JewelGirls impacts each participating girl while strengthening the capacity of her community to prevent exploitation and serve the needs of girls victimized by trafficking and street-life.

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

Safety is a significant barrier for each of the girls in the program, and for the program itself. We recognize that in some cases, we do not even know how many traffickers were involved in the exploitation of one girl. Other times, government and law enforcement are themselves exploitative and there are limited options in protecting these girl’s rights. What’s more, as a program that sustains itself on the sale of the jewelry creations, the program is contingent upon strong human capital, personal investment, and a unique issue understanding. Finding individuals who are capable, motivated, and trustworthy to help manage each JewelGirls site is at times at challenge. However, we believe in the power of one person to make social change, and support young women activists who are eager to help. We must continue to support the community's strength and commitment to creating empowering chances for each girl to reintegrate into society and be safe from future exploitation. Our girls have very complicated needs ranging from needing legal documentation to basic reading and writing skills and job training. FAIR Fund cannot, and should not, provide all of these services on our own. By working with the community to assist these girls, we can better meet their needs and also begin to change attitudes so that the community will no longer allow the future exploitation of such girls.

How many people have you served or plan to serve?

In our first pilot year, the JewelGirls program will reach approximately 30 girl survivors of human trafficking in Belgrade, Serbia. We will then reach a broader population of girls in Serbia by training, coordinating, and supporting community advocates who will have the strength and skills to reach these girls. In Year II, we aim to expand our program to 30 new girls in Moscow, Russia and potentially new girls in D.C. and Kenya where FAIR Fund operates on a programmatic level as well. Beyond these directly impacted and served people, JewelGirls is reaching every single person who purchases a piece of handcrafted JewelGirls jewelry as they too learn about and advance the anti-trafficking movement.

Directly

JewelGirls directly impacts the lives of each girl in the program. Our program also makes a critical impact on the understanding and abilities of individuals and agencies within the community where the girl will now be reintegrated. We serve each girl first by bringing her into a safe and stable environment where she can form bonds with other girls, share experiences, and begin to see herself as a creative person with potential to be safe, earn money, and move on with her life in a positive way. Then, we work with our partners to ensure that each girl finds a stable housing situation. We also look to assisting girls, on an individual basis, in obtaining legal documentation, education, counseling, housing, or job finding. While our program is new, we already see that girls are finding jobs and forming the social bonds that will enable them to lead healthier lives free from exploitation.

Indirectly

We estimate that each month, potentially 200 individuals could purchase jewelry made by a jewel girl. That is 200 individuals who are learning about the power of recovery for girl victims of human trafficking. First, they read about the program, then they put on their necklace or earrings and tell others about human trafficking, the JewelGirls, and our global responsibility to prevent future girls from victimization. Many of our customers call our office regularly to ask how a particular jewel girl is doing. Furthermore, we have begun to sell jewelry on the local market in Serbia and have seen that local community members, ranging from grandmas to hotel owners, are beginning to see the girls as truly valuable members of society, not as disposable people. Lawyers, super models, and medical professionals in Serbia have even called to ask if they could volunteer to help our girls. Our girls’ newfound strength and skill as young entrepreneurs reverberates through the local community and onward to also impact the global network of purchasers.

Please list any other measures of the impact of your innovation?

FAIR Fund measures the success of our program by the successful reintegration of each girl into a community where she is supported and allowed to thrive. We already see some girls finding gainful employment and educational chances. For our girls who are heavily discriminated against because they are Roma, legal documentation and access to social services is critical to our success and impact. We will stay in touch with former girl participants to document their transition to a safer adult life.

Is there a policy intervention element to your innovation?

While direct policy work was not our primary purpose with JewelGirls, there are two policy items that must be addressed by our work in order to begin to change attitudes and create a more supportive community for at-risk or trafficked girls. First, there must be a change in how all youth under 18 gain legal documentation that will allow them to be in school, housing, or gain other social support that could keep them off the streets and out of the hands of traffickers and pimps. Second, we must address the fact that law enforcement in Serbia, despite their anti-trafficking laws, arrest minor girls for prostitution. We must proceed very carefully so as not to endanger our girls.

Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

JewelGirls was created specifically to benefit a group of girl survivors of trafficking and homelessness on the streets of Belgrade, Serbia. They receive services that they would otherwise have no access to. They find a community of support to help them heal from their trauma and build networks that will propel them into their life as survivors. In that sense, the community also benefits from a decrease in exploitation and an increase in social capital. Finally, each person who purchases a JewelGirls piece becomes a beneficiary in that, like the JewelGirls, they are given the opportunity to participate in positive social change.

This Entry is about (Issues)

Sustainability

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How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

JewelGirls was initially financed by donations of jewelry making supplies and by support from a few generous individual donors. We recently received a gift of over 2,500 silver JewelGirls "Chance Charms", which will be sold to generate income to support the program as it strengthens and expands. As of this winter, we began to sell each girl’s handcrafted jewelry both in the U.S. and locally, generating a profit that is split 75/25, with the 75 percent going to each girl through a communal support fund and an individual savings account. We hope to be able to expand corporate donations and increase individual donations in order to keep a recently opened all-girls safe space open for our participants.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization

FAIR Fund is a registered 501(c)3 organization with 80% of our funding from private individuals. Our other programs are funded by foundation grants and some governmental support. The JewelGirls program has been funded by the generosity of private individuals, corporations providing in-kind materials, and the sale of the JewelGirls pieces. Our current budget is $350,000. In 2007, our budget was $192,000. FAIR Fund currently has seven staff.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The demand for JewelGirls comes from the individual girls who need our services to safely reintegrate into a trained and supportive community. We currently know of hundreds of girls and at least three new communities who need the JewelGirls program. Furthermore, the demand for our cause-promoting jewelry made by girl survivors is very high - we are rarely able to keep inventory in stock for more than one month. Both the need and the demand for the JewelGirls program are truly great.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Our program costs include educational, medical, housing, legal support, workshop space, workshop leaders, product shipping, and marketing. Our model ensures that each jewel girl receives 75 percent of the proceeds of the sale of jewelry. Thus, our operations are covered by the remaining 25 percent and we need to raise support from private individuals, foundations and corporate goodwill. However, we hope the program will soon generate enough support in sales and product placement to sustain itself.

The Story

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What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

At 18, I lost a friend to a forced marriage and what I believe was an honor killing. FAIR Fund was founded as a response to that loss. When I met these young street girls in Serbia, they could not wait. I believe that they deserve assistance and have much to teach the us and the world about their strength as survivors. Their jewelry is beautiful evidence of that strength.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Andrea Powell is co-founder and Executive Director of FAIR Fund. She is a graduate of Texas State University and obtained her Masters in European Union Law and Economics at the University of Bonn, Germany. At 23, she co-founded FAIR Fund to be a space for younger women to effect social change and stop sexual violence and exploitation in their communities. She enjoys jewelry making, painting, and traveling. Her favorite people include her parents, her husband, and one very special JewelGirl.

Emphasis of Work

FAIR Fund's work is preventive and rehabilitative in nature. FAIR Fund aims to provide the social support and education that younger women aged 13 to 26 need to keep themselves safe from human trafficking and sexual assault. We currently have students in 15 countries at 150 universities who have been trained members of our own Campus Coalition Against Trafficking. These students go on to be lawyers, medical professionals, nonprofit leaders, and international business experts. All of FAIR Fund's staff were initially trained through our advocate program and assist in developing youth-involved and evidence-based programming and activism. We personally engage and listen to the experiences of younger women who receive rehabilitative services from us - whether that is a girl leaving orphan care, a girl runaway in inner-city D.C., or a young survivor of human trafficking in Belgrade, Serbia. They help us to create the education and support programs that will help prevent the exploitation and abuse of their peers.

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325 weeks ago Bessie Sorge said: This organization is such a wonderful platform for the woman out there who have been suffering for years (some all their life). I think ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Maraya Lasinsky said: Congratuations!!!! The JG store website looks fabulous!! I'm so happy you were able to find a site that worked. Keep me posted!!! about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Andrea Powell said: Hi there. I was personally very surpised at the level of trust that our girls showed us. I have to really give credit to our local ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Andrea Powell said: Hi Mary Thank you for the question. Each of our girls comes from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our plan is to monitor each ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Mary Nell Wegner said: It is really exciting to hear about your progress to date, and I can only imagine that there will be incredible progress from here on ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Trude Johansson said: So far the concept of the project seems really good, and it seem as though you have come a long way in installing a sense of trust in ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Andrea Powell said: Hi "Abq0906" Thank you for replying. Well, marketing is always a challenge. But, so far, we are trying to get the word out via word ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
326 weeks ago Ashley Glover said: I think that this is a great idea. This is a good very to help these girls get a sense of self through, and gaining back there self ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >