TK’s Journey: From Refugee to UN Award Recipient – A Beacon of Hope and Change

In a world where stories of hope and perseverance often go unheard, the story of Ntakamaze Nziyonvira, known as TK, stands as a beacon of inspiration. At Not For Sale, we are honored to spotlight TK’s remarkable journey from a refugee camp to becoming a United Nations award recipient and a transformative leader in education.


TK’s Early Life, Refugee Camp, and Education

TK was born into incredibly challenging circumstances in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He and his family were forced to flee to Uganda when he was just eleven years old due to the First Congo War. They would soon be sent to Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement Camp, where he soared and later would pursue an education in engineering at University of Rochester in the United States, where he excelled in engineering. However, it’s his decision post-graduation that marks a turning point in his life and the lives of many others.

Choosing Service Over Comfort

Upon graduating, TK faced a pivotal choice: a promising engineering career in the US or returning to his roots. In an act of extraordinary selflessness, TK chose to go back to Uganda, to the very refugee camp he grew up in. His goal was clear – to lead COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA) and make a tangible difference in the lives of refugee children and youth through education.

Impactful Leadership and Achievements

Under TK’s guidance, CIYOTA has made significant strides in enhancing educational opportunities for refugees. The construction of a modern high school under his leadership stands as a testament to his vision – offering quality education to approximately 500 students annually.

Recognition and the Gene Dewey Refugee Award

The pinnacle of TK’s tireless efforts came with the prestigious Gene Dewey Refugee Award, an acknowledgment by the United Nations of his impactful work in the refugee community. This award is not just a personal achievement for TK; it symbolizes hope, resilience, and the power of dedicated service.

Looking Ahead

We are excited to soon share an exclusive interview with Mark Wexler, our co-founder and CEO, where he discusses TK’s impactful journey and the future of our collaboration with CIYOTA. (In the meantime, you can watch TK, from last September, introduce another new piece of construction at the refugee camp, an entrepreneurship center which was inspired by a Not For Sale lead initiative called the Entrepreneurship Challenge!)

TK’s story is a vivid reminder that from adversity can come extraordinary achievements. His journey from a refugee to a leader and a UN awardee is a source of inspiration for us all. At Not For Sale, we are committed to supporting such incredible individuals and initiatives, striving towards a world free of modern-day slavery and filled with opportunities for all.

Join us in celebrating TK’s journey and the difference he is making in the world. Your support helps us continue our mission and collaborate with remarkable changemakers like TK.



Click a hashtag to find more content:

#DRCongo #Uganda #Refugee #education #Partnership #NtakamazeNziyonvira #refugeeeducation #GeneDeweyRefugeeAward #UnitedNations



From The Frontlines: Vi Do’s Transformational Journey from Streetchild to CEO

Watch our first ‘From The Frontlines’ video series.

We are thrilled to present an intimate and inspiring interview with Vi Do, Co-CEO of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Hosted by our very own Mark Wexler, co-founder of Not For Sale, this episode is a deep dive into the life of a man who turned his trials into triumph.

Vi Do’s life is a story of extraordinary transformation. Born into extreme poverty in rural Vietnam, Vi faced immense challenges from an early age. His journey through his father’s illness and the hardships of life on the streets of Hanoi is one of resilience and determination.

The turning point in Vi’s life was his chance meeting with CNN Heroes award winner Michael Brosowski, which not only altered his path but also played a pivotal role in the birth of Blue Dragon. Blue Dragon now stands as a beacon of hope for children facing similar crises across Vietnam, offering services from rescue and legal advocacy to education and shelter.

Vi’s journey from the streets of Vietnam to becoming a leader in child welfare and fighting human trafficking is a testament to the power of community support and the human spirit.

Watch the full interview and subscribe to our channel for more inspiring content. Together, let’s support the vital work of Blue Dragon in transforming lives.

About Blue Dragon:

Dedicated to meeting the critical needs of children in rural Vietnam, Blue Dragon is at the forefront of addressing major issues like trafficking, homelessness, and exploitation. Their holistic approach in providing comprehensive care, education, and empowerment paves the way for brighter futures. Support their mission and be part of a change that matters.

Click a hashtag to find more content:

#FromTheFrontlines #NotForSale #WeAreNotForSale #BlueDragon #InspiringStories #ChangeMakers #SocialGood #HumanTrafficking #Vietnam

Great News: Massive Bipartisan Support for Vital Legislation in the U.S. House

On February 13, 2024 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5856) with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority. This crucial piece of legislation, championed by Representative Chris Smith, underscores a united stand against the atrocities of human trafficking.

It represents a significant step in reinforcing and expanding successful anti-trafficking programs, emphasizing prevention, support for survivors, and prosecution of traffickers.


The Frederick Douglass Act focuses on several key areas:

1. Promotes prevention education in schools through grants, emphasizing situational awareness to avoid victimization.

2. Supports survivor programs for employment, housing, and education.
3. Allocates $175 million over five years for Department of Justice Housing Assistance Grants for trafficking victims.
4. Enhances training programs, including collaboration with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
5. Advocates for accessible, trauma-informed prevention efforts in USAID programs and incorporates counter-trafficking measures in development initiatives.
6. Streamlines the Tier 2 Watch List process.
7. Reauthorizes the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking.
8. Includes forced organ harvesting in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report.

The bill moves to the Senate where it is expected to pass, continue to check back with Not For Sale because we’ll keep you updated.


“In the words of my great-great-great grandfather and the great American abolitionist Frederick Douglass—enslavement is a scourge on humanity that ‘to expose it is to kill it. Slavery is one of those monsters of darkness to whom the light of truth is death. Expose slavery, and it dies,’” said Kenneth B. Morris, Jr, President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, who helped craft the legislation.


Collaborative Efforts Bearing Fruit

This victory is a testament to the dedication of many organizations like Not For Sale, IJMPolaris Projectthe Alliance to End Human Traffickingthe National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and many other organizations.

Tireless advocacy and collaboration have played a crucial role in pushing forward systemic reforms, focusing on eliminating the root causes of trafficking and supporting migrants in their home countries.


Looking Forward

Keep visiting our site and social media channels for continuous updates on the progress in the fight against modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Happy Birthday! Celebrating 17 Years of Not For Sale!

Dear Friends & Supporters:

Today — February 5th — is Not For Sale’s 17th birthday.

We at Not For Sale wanted to take a moment to reflect back on our shared impact in combating human trafficking and to express our gratitude for your love and support over our 17 years, thank you!

Since 2007 we’ve supported nearly 450,000 people, including thousands of survivors of human trafficking. Our environmental conservation efforts have been equally impactful. We’ve conserved over 753 square miles of Amazon rainforest and proactively planted 26,799 trees, capturing over 7,600 tonnes of CO2.

As we look towards 2024, we’re excited about our future initiatives and deeply grateful for your continued support.

For example, we’ve been invited to collaborate with an indigenous-owned mining consortium in Australia. Our focus will be on programs that uplift the economic and environmental health of indigenous communities in the Outback.

Not For Sale president Dave Batstone observes mining techniques in the Australian Outback
Not For Sale president Dave Batstone discusses new mining technologies with Traditional Owner, Roy Jensen, the owner of an Australian mining company

Drawing on our successful models from the Peruvian Amazon, we aim to enhance local economic conditions in a way that benefits the Traditional Owners and addresses the environmental damage caused by previous mining operations.

This project is a true embodiment of our dedication to sustainable growth and environmental conservation.

Coming Attractions


Watch the promo video of our soon to be released series of videos interviewing our projects and partners, starting with Vi Do, the Co-CEO of our partner agency in Vietnam. Vi (pictured below, right) is a former street child, and was even one of Blue Dragon’s first beneficiaries. His story is truly incredible!

When available, we’ll share the full interview with you via email, or you can find it on our social channels and on our website.



On this special day, we thank you, our dedicated donors and partners. Your support has been crucial in our dual mission of ending human trafficking and protecting our planet.

Here’s to another year of making a difference together!


With heartfelt thanks,

Dave Batstone & Mark Wexler


Not For Sale

How You Help Transform Lives

Dear Not For Sale Friend & Supporter,

As we progress towards Giving Tuesday, we’re excited to share a heartening glimpse into the transformative work happening at Not For Sale. 

Our mission goes beyond only providing immediate aid; it’s about nurturing long-term empowerment and self-sufficiency, which you have helped to write.

A few months ago we introduced you to Aydee. She is from the Ese Eja indigenous community in the Amazon of Peru, and she is a shining example of the change we strive to achieve. 

With our help, Aydee embarked on an educational journey, culminating in her graduation and the beginning of a new chapter as a community leader. 

In fact, earlier this year she was voted onto the regional indigenous government board overseeing the region where she was born! 

Explore Aydee’s inspiring story of personal triumph in the ‘News from the Frontlines’ section on the Not For Sale website.

Aydee didn’t stop there. 

She is continuing to go above and beyond, giving back to the community. 

Last week she led educational initiatives for the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and Tributaries (FEMAMAD), focusing her efforts on the Matsiguenka people in the Manu National Park. She is developing programs that equip indigenous youth with the tools they need for future success, bridging gaps in education and opportunity.

This story isn’t just Aydee’s—it’s yours too. 

Your support has been instrumental in enabling us to empower individuals like Aydee. As we forge ahead towards Giving Tuesday, let’s celebrate these victories and the profound difference we can make together.

Your ongoing partnership is vital to our mission. Together, we can continue to change lives and build a future where no one is for sale.

Thank you for standing with us.


Warmest regards,
Mark Wexler 
CEO and Co-Founder
Not For Sale