Advocating For Change With Christmas Ornaments

Not For Sale supporter Claire Dickison proves that you can get involved and #InnovateForGood at any age! We’re honored to share Claire’s advocacy and fundraising efforts for Not For Sale as part of our #InnovateForGood Campaign, as we continue to share stories of how the innovators we admire show their creativity in fighting injustice.

As free beings with agency, I firmly believe that it is the public’s responsibility to refuse to turn a blind eye to the struggles of those trapped by the bonds of modern day slavery. I believe that God placed all of us on this Earth with a purpose, and calls us to “proclaim freedom to the captives and set the oppressed free.”

Ever since I first learned about human trafficking, I’ve made an effort to fight against this injustice by doing small things like throw out Halloween candy from brands known to use exploitative labor. However, I’ve always wanted to find a way to make a bigger, impactful contribution to the anti-human trafficking movement.

When a school project led me to research the work of Not For Sale, I recognized the value of the organization’s holistic and integrated impact model, made possible through its own initiatives as well as partnerships with businesses that practice ethical sourcing. NFS gives consumers like me the opportunity to support rehabilitation programs that give at-risk individuals and survivors a safer, brighter future.

I wanted to contribute to Not For Sale’s cause, so I made ornaments to sell at a Christmas vendor’s market and various churches to raise both money and awareness for the organization. The ornaments were clear bulbs, with a white feather and a red heart inside, hung on a short chain link. They were an effective way to heighten awareness about human trafficking while raising money for NFS. It was exciting to see how many people cared about the issue and wanted to learn more!
To make a difference, I now know that I don’t have to do something huge and complex. I realized I can foster change in my community through something as easy as selling Christmas ornaments. Focus on the importance of the small acts that you can do now, and the world shaking endeavours will come with time.

Now, my friend and I are organizing an awareness night featuring a speaker and the documentary Red Light Green Light. We’ll be selling baked goods to raise money for a local safehouse for survivors. Our goal is to bring about sustainable change in our community by letting people know of the reality of horrors that our brothers and sisters around the world face every single day, and showing them how we can help by supporting incredible organizations like Not For Sale.

Innovator aims for Microfinance For 5 Million Youth By 2020

Often the opportunity to #InnovateForGood stems from a small idea that grows to have a huge global impact. We love this story of how guest contributor Adellene Tanuri’s childhood school project has grown to impact thousands of lives through microfinance! 

Inspiration is Everywhere, Just Listen.

II grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia – a beautiful yet deeply conflicted city where two seemingly incompatible worlds of wealth and poverty coexist. I would look out my car window and would see lavish skyscrapers standing in the midst of slums. You can try but can’t possibly turn a blind eye to the street children knocking on your car window begging for some change. Change. That’s all they ever seek for – to be given the opportunity to change their life circumstances, change the futures of their families, and ultimately achieving a change that would grant them freedom from impoverishment. It is with this constant confrontation with that brutal reality of my home city that my ambitions began. The seed of my desire for change was planted in my heart when I was only 12 years old.

It all started in my last year of primary school when my teacher, Ms. Johanna, instructed us to choose a social issue to focus on for a community and service project. Naively, I came back to her with one word: poverty. Ms. Johanna wisely advised me to dig deeper so that I could create a more tangible action plan that would enable me to make a difference. Little did I know, that one piece of constructive criticism would improve the lives of 344,016 Indonesians through my mother’s organization YCAB Foundation.

Let me explain how that powerful domino effect came into play. It was the combination of curiosity, small actions, and my mother’s willingness to adapt and learn – even from her inexperienced 12-year-old daughter. When I followed Ms. Johanna’s advice and dug deeper into the issue with research, I stumbled upon organizations that were providing microfinance services as a way to alleviate poverty. At first, I felt like I was drowning with questions– What is microfinance? Small loans? No collateral? Since everything I read seemed foreign, I turned to my mom who at this time was already running YCAB – a nonprofit that aims to empower the lives of the youth through education. She volunteered to supervise my friends and me in our visits to local communities of women who were receiving these microfinance services. It was through heartfelt conversations with these women that inspired my mom to start the microfinance program in YCAB.
One hundred million Indonesians still live under $2 a day. A simple intervention of $50 could double their income. The true gift of microfinance is the restoration of dignity stemming from the trust given to these women that they are capable of transforming their lives through their own entrepreneurial spirit. This impactful economic empowerment program that is now integral to YCAB was born out of the humility of listening to the voices of local women in Indonesia and the belief that change is not simply a fantasy.

No one would have expected that a 6th grader’s community project would become the first step in the evolution of YCAB as a nonprofit to the social enterprise it is today. This year, YCAB’s premise of change was awarded by United Nations as one of nine innovative global solutions. YCAB’s approach is unique as it is a hybrid form of microfinance that ties access to loans with the condition of the attainment of education. In 2020, YCAB aims to touch the lives of five million youth in ten different countries.

This isn’t just a story about me nor is it about my mother’s commendable accomplishments. It is a testament to the great things that can happen when we approach social issues in a human and relational way – to always keep our hearts and minds open to learning from each other, even from those who are younger, vulnerable, and often marginalized. Eight years later, here I am, a third-year student in UC Berkeley, reminded once again by my 12-year-old self to be unafraid to take risks, show love and compassion, and to continue to be optimistic for the possibility of empowerment and change.

Bishop O’Dowd High School Students Innovate for Good

During our #InnovateForGoodCampaign, we’re featuring stories of innovators who inspire us. Today, we’re sharing the excellent work of high school students at Bishop O’Dowd High School to raise awareness around the issue of human trafficking and generate funds for Not For Sale’s programs around the world. 

Students Against Exploitation 

Every year at Bishop O’Dowd High School, the Campus Ministry Team (CMT), a group of fourteen senior leaders selects an international organization to benefit from a weeklong mission drive. This year, after significant research, CMT narrowed its interest to human trafficking, and Not For Sale immediately caught our attention. We decided to choose this particular organization because of its promise that our contributions would truly have a lasting impact instead of a superficial one. We made it our mission to educate the student body at O’Dowd about how Not For Sale works with communities around the world to end exploitation by creating self-sustaining social and economic projects.

To promote Mission Drive Week, CMT distributed posters with information about Not For Sale along with basic statistics about human trafficking. We also hosted daily lunchtime activities to engage students and raise more funds. One of our more popular activities was “Pie in the Face,” which gave students the opportunity to throw a whipped cream pie at a CMT member, friend, or faculty in exchange for a donation. CMT also partnered with the UNICEF club on campus, which led a human trafficking trivia activity that rewarded correct answers with Fair Trade certified treats.

$4,504.00 Raised for Not For Sale! 

On Wednesday, Bishop O’Dowd welcomed Mark Wexler, the Co-Founder of Not For Sale, to present at a school-wide assembly. Mark discussed his motivation for creating impact through NFS, highlighting how relationships with strong women like Kru Nam have shaped his worldview. The presentation ended up generating a total of $580 in donations! Following Mark, CMT recapped details from the presentation through a trivia session and game. Overall, the assembly was a great platform to educate the student body and encourage participation in the anti-human trafficking movement. The whole O’Dowd community would like to thank Mr. Wexler for his inspiring presentation.

After a week of activities, O’Dowd raised a total of $4,504 for Not For Sale. CMT is proud to have succeeded in raising awareness among the O’Dowd community about NFS’s mission to end human trafficking through a sustainable, comprehensive campaign.

Youth Engaging Youth To Fight Injustice: Indonesia Civic Youth

Innovate For Good

During our #InnovateForGoodCampaign, we’re featuring stories of innovators who inspire us. James Karnadi, founder of Indonesia Civic Youth, is passionate about engaging youth to promote social justice. In just a short amount of time, James’ organization has had a fantastic impact around the world! 

In 2017, I started Indonesia Civic Youth with a mission to develop the growth of leaders dedicated to driving social change. The main goal of this movement was to inspire innovative solutions from youth that have the potential to make domestic and international impacts. I grew up in a wealthy family in a developing country. In Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, I had access to a luxurious lifestyle that many other Indonesians never have the opportunity to experience. My privileged background has played an enormous role in my understanding of Indonesian structural inequality. Indonesia has rich natural resources that are plentiful yet unevenly distributed– limiting the possibility every citizen has of realizing their full potential. In fact, many wealthy families send their children to boarding schools in foreign countries, believing they are more likely to have access to greater opportunities abroad.

I was unable to ignore this inequality when I interned at a digital company that worked closely with NGOs, the private sector, and governments. I was amazed that my CEO, at the age of only 27 years old, could drive such impactful change just through collaborating and starting dialogue with other young leaders. It really inspired me and thought me a lesson that there is no problem too large to solve, even if the solution starts on a small scale. Now, through my program Indonesia Civic Youth, I work with a team to solve hundreds of issues domestically by concentrating on five topics: agriculture, tourism, health, energy and logistics. We work with the Executive Office of the President as a National Movement to solve domestic problems through the vision of the youth.

Moving forward, we have started a campaign in San Francisco and Los Angeles: #AyoJadiCivic, or in English, “Let’s be Civic.” The two main features of this program are to 1) motivate the young leaders of Indonesia to give back to the country, and 2) create a platform to be a channel for the UN. We also created a blood drive campaign #Darahmahal which means “blood is expensive.” Collaborating with the National Red Cross, we are working to fulfill six months worth of blood supply for the population of Surakarta, Indonesia. I believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I have finally come to a point of realization that making a change with the youth is not as simple as finding their “why”. The “why” is just the beginning of the revolution. We must move forward with action for change.

Learn more about Indonesia Civic Youth’s Impact 

Entrepreneurship Challenge

Not For Sale and Spence Diamonds Invest In Uganda’s Innovators

Talent is universal — but opportunity is not. That’s why Not For Sale is choosing fifteen entrepreneurs from Uganda with a big potential to #InnovateForGood to receive funding to launch their business ideas.

Many people fleeing violence in the DRC come into Uganda as refugees. The Kyangwali refugee camp has become home to a quickly increasing number of displaced people.

Short-term, emergency needs like access to healthcare and shelter for new arrivals are joined by the needs of resettled refugees in need of stability and structure within the camp — like education and a way to earn a living. A lack of economic security means trafficking and exploitation rates are high.

Not For Sale Uganda has been working within the Kyangwali refugee camp, providing housing, educational opportunities, and support to those who are vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation. Through the local network we’ve built through Not For Sale Uganda/Democratic Republic of the Congo, we’ve met many brilliant people who have a deep desire to use their best and brightest ideas to create positive change within the Kyangwali community and throughout the world.  

If there’s one concept we’ve learned through launching and partnering with impactful enterprises around the world, it’s that those who are often most well-equipped to be innovators for good in a certain area are the members of that community. It makes sense: people who are immersed in the daily struggles of a region will be the most deeply invested in creating solutions, and the most educated on what those solutions should look like. We believe that the next big world-changing idea might just come from the dusty streets of an Ugandan refugee settlement rather than Silicon Valley’s polished boardrooms. To find the innovators, we’ll go to the area where innovation is needed the most.

This June, aspiring entrepreneurs will come together in Uganda to exchange ideas and compete for the chance to work with Not For Sale and our partners to launch new enterprises. Each of the carefully chosen challenge participants are exceptional leaders and creative minds from the local communities and refugee camps around Uganda.

After a period of research and tailored brainstorm sessions to inform and position our collection of business experts and investors, each entrepreneur will pitch their business ideas to a panel made up of representatives from Not For Sale, Just Business, Spence Diamonds, and local Ugandan business owners, Shark Tank style. The winning ideas will be put into motion, with the chosen entrepreneur receiving the funding, mentoring, and resources needed to launch and scale their enterprise.

We can’t wait to share the excitement and impact of this challenge with the Not For Sale squad! If you’re signed up for our newsletters, you’ll receive updates from our team as we move forward with the challenge. You can also follow along with #NFSInvestsUganda on social media for behind-the-scenes content from our team in Uganda.

Good Ethics in Every Step: Z Shoes’ Radical Transparency

Z Shoes is a Not For Sale partner brand that consistently shows a deep resolve to  #InnovateForGood. Within a deeply exploitative industry, Z Shoes has crafted a sustainable business model which considers the impact of each product on people and the planet while still maintaining a profitable brand. 

The Exploitative World of “Fast Fashion”

Most of the clothing, shoes, and accessories that flood the fashion marketplace today fit within the category of “fast fashion”: trendy, cheaply made goods that are churned out quickly and discarded almost as if they’re disposable. Fast fashion doesn’t come without a devastating cost. Manufacturers are chosen for how quickly they can produce clothing for the least amount of money, not for  how ethically workers are treated or how sustainable their process is. Some fashion companies can’t even trace their supply chain, as the drive for cheaper and cheaper prices leads to shady subcontracting deals that can be rife with child labor and other types of labor exploitation.

Consumers, now more than ever, have a window into the world in which our clothes, shoes, and accessories are made. We hear about workers fainting in Nike manufacturing facilities or withheld wages and deadly fires in flip flop factories. It’s clear that something must change within the fashion industry, and that individual consumers and fashion giants alike need to be a part of the solution to the exploitation and slavery that plague it. Activism movements like Fashion Revolution, a global campaign pushing for greater transparency and better ethics within the fashion industry, help consumers form a strong collective voice in asking companies for more ethically made clothing.

Fashion Revolution urges consumers to ask brands “Who made my clothes/accessories/shoes?”, holding brands accountable for how people and the planet are affected by the making of the products that we wear. Not For Sale brand partner Z Shoes is prepared to answer that question. Aa a brand that values transparency and good ethics, Z Shoes is open about the company’s supply chain, and proud to share their  partnership with Not For Sale in building social enterprises to empower communities at risk for human trafficking.

Z Shoes Innovates For Good In The Fashion Industry Through Every Step Of The Supply Chain

150 billion in profits are generated annually by businesses employing slavery and exploitation (more than the revenues of Google, Microsoft, Apple, ExxonMobil, and JP Morgan Chase combined!). Numbers for labor exploitation and human trafficking continue to grow – currently it’s estimated that 45.8 million people around the globe are being exploited and living without access to basic human rights.

Z Shoes was born out of a desire to create a business that would fight those statistics through offering a path to economic opportunity within vulnerable communities in Peru. The Peruvian Amazon is one of the most resource-rich areas in the world, but also one of the poorest. Labor exploitation, sex trafficking, child malnutrition,and  illiteracy, are all catalyzed by economic vulnerability and poverty. Economic Instability is a root cause of the community’s vulnerability to exploitation. Z Shoes intentionally crafted a supply chain that has a positive impact at every step.

The Cotton

Z Shoes’ partners on the ground in Peru have been growing Natural Cotton Colors in earthy beige, brown, chocolate, green and mauve tones since 1978. We support the growers’ unique Amazon jungle Drug-Free cotton program, which offers a viable alternative to illicit coca leaf cultivation. Our partners were the first to certify the superior Peruvian Pima fiber– the longest, strongest and softest cotton anywhere — as organic. Our cotton is USDA Organic certified.

Only natural, plant-based dyes are used for Z Shoes, ensuring that we only contribute toward preserving the environment beauty of the Amazon, rather than harming it though polluting it with chemical or synthetic dyes.

Though souring the cotton used for Z Shoes, thoughtfully,  Z Shoes supports the use of environmentally conscientious practices of small farmers and producers, while fostering sustainable relationships and understanding among American peoples of diverse ethnic and cultural heritages.

The Rubber

The rubber used to craft the soles of Z Shoes is sourced from a local indigenous tribe of the Iberia region of Peru’s Amazon. Harvesters (Shiringueros) make incisions across the latex vessels, just deep enough to tap the vessels without harming the tree’s growth, they then leave small buckets to collect the latex. This process is known as rubber tapping. Their process epitomises the term sustainability. So much so, that the local harvesters are still tapping rubber from the same trees that their great grandfathers once did generations before.

Natural rubber is biodegradable, as is cotton, meaning that Z Shoes’ designs will break down and return to the earth at the end of their lifecycle.

Who Made Your Z Shoes?

Z Shoes are made in both Lima, Peru and Portugal (the Self Love line). Each factory uses fair trade practices and allow their employees opportunity for growth. 60% of Z Shoe’s partner factory in Portugal’s employees are women, and 200 local residents are employed through the factory.

The Impact

2.5% of every shoe sold returns to Not For Sale, where it is used to support indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon through building schools, installing clean water systems, helping to build farms, and more. Not For Sale has developed a scholarship program to provide housing, school fees, supplies and emotional support for vulnerable children in rural parts of Peru, and we also provides artisan training and small business workshops for hundreds of women in the Amazon. The women develop self esteem while learning marketable trades and skill sets.

Z Shoes not only seeks to join the growing force of businesses pushing for a more fair and ethical fashion industry, but also offers consumers a chance to take a step forward for freedom and for fairness for all.

Learn more about Z Shoes Organic