NFS Vietnam – Your Little Bit

NFS Vietnam – Your Little Bit

Written by Michael Brosowski

It’s hard to NOT feel like the world is broken.

For months we’ve been struggling with a global pandemic that has so far claimed over 370,000 lives, shut down countries, decimated whole sectors of the economy, and sparked deep divisions in places where people cannot agree on how to resolve the crisis.

Now we’re watching as terrifying footage streams around the US. With yet another black man killed while being arrested, the country has exploded in anger. Protests and riots have been met with deadly force by police. We’ve seen journalists arrested live on TV; police cars ram into protestors; buildings burnt to the ground.

And while these daily crises roll out in front of us, the world’s climate continues to grow more extreme, and at a more abrupt rate as time goes by.

It’s ok to be angry, or frustrated, or saddened by world events that you cannot change. But take control of what you can. It may only be a little bit, but it will make a world of difference.

Not For Sale Vietnam Director

No matter what your view, something we can agree on is that this is not how our world should be.

So what to do?

Looking at the big picture, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. How to end institutionalized racism, and a global pandemic, and hold back climate change? None of us can do that… can we?

On our own we can’t change the whole world. But there’s still something we can do – something small but powerful. And the times are calling on us to act.

It’s as simple as this: We each have to find our own little bit. The one thing that we can do to make things better.

For some people, that might mean volunteering at a local shelter to cook meals. It might mean donating to a charity that does work you wish you could do yourself. It might mean picking up the phone and calling someone who’s unable to get out of the house themselves at the moment. It might mean switching the way you shop, so that you buy less and give your business to more environmentally-conscious companies.

What’s your little bit? What’s the one thing that you can do that will make one patch of the earth a better place?

I want to share something that we did at Blue Dragon this week. Something small, but life-changing. Something that will never make headlines, but has changed the world for one little girl.

Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools throughout Vietnam, kids here have been doing it tough, especially out in the rural parts of the country where life is already hard.

When schools opened again a few weeks ago, plenty of students simply did not return to the classroom. In the months that schools shut down, many started working in jobs, or got married, or for whatever reason have set off down a path that prevents them from going back to school.

One of those kids is Chu. She’s a 6th grader, just 12 years old, up in the mountains close to China.

Chu’s mother died a few years ago, so Chu has long had an important role in keeping the family together. Her father works in corn fields far from home so while schools were closed, he came to rely on his daughter looking after her younger brothers.

When school started up again, he decided to keep Chu at home. He could work more, and earn more money, with her looking after the brothers.

When we heard about this, Blue Dragon’s staff in the province got on a motorbike and rode up through the mountains to talk to Chu’s dad. He didn’t agree at first. He didn’t see why it was so important for Chu to get an education anyway.

Over a few days, he heard what Blue Dragon had to say and he saw that his own little girl really wanted to go back to school. In fact, Chu revealed that her dream in life is to be a teacher for other ethnic minority kids like herself.

Chu’s dad changed his mind. He could see that Chu wanted, and needed, to be in school. So he agreed, and now she’s back to her studies.

That one little bit won’t bring world peace, but Chu’s life will always be better for it. It’s a well established fact that keeping girls in school is a powerful contributor to social and economic development.

And one day in years to come, I would think that she’ll do everything in her power for her own children to get an education too.

When you do your little bit, you may never know what effects will ripple out to others. You may never see the impact of what you’ve done. You should do it anyway.

It’s ok to be angry, or frustrated, or saddened by world events that you cannot change. But take control of what you can. It may only be a little bit, but it will make a world of difference.

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Co-Founder Update

Co-Founder Update

Written by Mark Wexler

This week I’d like to provide you updates from several of our projects in the field. The effects that COVID-19 is having on our community of survivors is very real. 

Peruvian Amazon

Our fishery project deep in the Peruvian Amazon has been crucial to keeping many indigenous communities COVID-19 free because they don’t need to travel into the city to purchase their protein. If the people there contracted COVID-19 it would have horrific effects, as they lack access to hospitals that are equipped to handle the pandemic. However, adding new fisheries was halted last month because of a funding shortage due to COVID-19.

“Not since the early days of the HIV pandemic have I witnessed such challenges. South Africa is under lockdown. There is so much fear around what Covid-19 could do because of the number of people with HIV.”

Southern Africa Not For Sale Director – Tom Hewitt

Bahn Kru Nam, Golden Triangle, Thailand

Typically, half of the kids that live at our Bahn Kru Nam community home attend boarding schools during the school year. Due to COVID-19, all of our kids are back living in the home. This has put great stress on our staff, who now have to feed more kids than expected, help with school work, and much more. Making things more difficult, food costs have tripled, putting pressure on our already limited budget, which had to be cut due to COVID-related funding shortages. 

 

Durban, South Africa

Our Southern Africa director, Tom Hewitt, shared the following: “Not since the early days of the HIV pandemic have I witnessed such challenges. South Africa is under lockdown. There is so much fear around what Covid-19 could do because of the number of people with HIV.”

We have ensured that all of our children are in safe local care throughout this lockdown period. This plan is vital as the homeless are being rounded up and put in poor conditions in stadiums and “hostels.”

At this critical time, our funding to support our work in South Africa has been cut short due to COVID-19.

 

We will continue to share updates from the field and the reality of the effect that COVID-19 is having on our work. Thank you for your continued support.

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I am, because you are

I am, because you are

Written by Mark Wexler

15 years ago I sat on a balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean in Durban, South Africa. I was with my former professor and future co-founder of Not For Sale, David Batstone. Stiff drink in hand, we discussed this insane thing called human trafficking.

It was during this conversation that we decided to start Not For Sale.

For the previous half year I had worked with a friend, Tom Hewitt, assisting his non-profit organization that uses sport to support at-risk and exploited youth. Tom later became Not For Sale’s Southern Africa Director, helping drive our programming in both South Africa and Mozambique. 

One of the many lasting things that stayed with me from my time in Southern African was an ethic called ubuntu. 

Quite literally my humanity is tied to yours, and your humanity is tied to mine. And our humanity is tied to the people that Not For Sale serves on a daily basis.

Co-Founder of Not For Sale – Mark Wexler

A rough translation of ubuntu’s meaning is: “I am because you are.” 

Another way to think of ubuntu, is that everything I do has an effect on you and your well being, and everything you do has an effect on me and my well being. Sure, we might be different, but undoubtedly we are interconnected. And importantly that is what animates our humanity. Our connectedness is actually what makes us…. us. 

Today, for the first time ever, on a global scale we are facing down a foe, COVID-19, that illuminates these (for many of us) previously invisible ties of ubuntu. Quite literally my humanity is tied to yours, and your humanity is tied to mine. And our humanity is tied to the people that Not For Sale serves on a daily basis.

Over the last few days we have talked with many of Not For Sale’s project leaders around the world. COVID-19 is having a real effect on people we serve.

We wanted to briefly share with you some of the immediately known effects on our work:

UGANDA: Last year Not For Sale supported 1,512 children refugees gain access to education in Uganda. We learned Friday that schools have been ordered closed for a month as a precaution. This will have a massive ripple effect on our kids. For most of them the food they receive at our school is the only meal they eat on any given day. We’re working on a way to safely deliver meals throughout the refugee camp.

NETHERLANDS: Our Dignita restaurants in Amsterdam have been ordered closed indefinitely. This has meant that our culinary training program for survivors, which supported 164 people last year, is working to set up an online video training course.

VIETNAM: Our partners are seeing an uptick in human traffickers preying on people most effected by COVID-19. This is in large part due to business closures and job losses which means that families are unable to provide for their children. It means that teenage girls are at higher risk of early marriage. But even through all this, just yesterday, our team rescued a 23 year old woman that was trafficked into China 6 months ago. (She remains in 2 week quarantine.) 

Over the duration of this crisis, we will be sharing with you updates on the effect COVID-19 is having on our team, friends, partners, and the people that we serve. Later this week we will share with you an interview with co-founder, David Batstone. 

More than ever we are committed to helping people that need support. Our resolve has not wavered, it is only strengthened by what we are up against with COVID-19.

In the spirit of ubuntu, acknowledging our interconnectedness, we will also be coming to you, our Not For Sale family, as specific needs arise in our community of survivors and at-risk people to appeal for your help as well. 

In Solidarity, Mark Wexler

Co-Founder & CEO, Not For Sale

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Rebbl With A Cause

Rebbl With A Cause

Written by Not For Sale

Several thousand people are estimated to be subjected to trafficking within Peru, including forced labor in mining, logging, and agriculture. Many of these people come from impoverished regions of the Amazon.  

Working to help these survivors, Not For Sale collaborated with notable abolitionists to support a shelter for survivors and at-risk youth in Peru.

After a few years, Not For Sale co-founders, Dave Batstone and Mark Wexler, knew they could build thousands of shelters and still not address the roots of the problem.

So, they teamed up with business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and change-makers to create a solution to the problem. Thus was born REBBL — a beverage company that would source its ingredients in an ethical way, making change for the communities that grew the roots, berries, bark, and leaves that go into every drink.

Watch now for the story of how REBBL was created, the change its made with Not For Sale in the Amazon rainforest, and how business can be a force for good.

There’s a monumental role that business can play as a force for good.

Co-Founder of Not For Sale – David Batstone

A short film on Rebbl’s origin story.  Narrated by Ruby Rose.

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South Africa

Country Project

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s Story

Not For Sale South Africa highlights the plight of street children in Durban, South Africa. We empower ex-street children and children at risk of street connectedness through surfing and mentorship.

Our children’s home is a safe space in which children can live safely and learn life skills to eventually reintegrate into society. We partner with the organization, “Surfers Not Street Children,” that have been working on the rights of street children in South Africa for over 25 years.

OUR MISSION

1. To identify and empower street children in Durban and beyond to be able to leave the street life and reintegrate back into society successfully.

2. To ensure that the children are developed in order to be independent and sustainable in their adult lives.

3. To identify children at risk of becoming street children or at risk of street-involvement and to divert them, offering them new hope.

4. To change the way that society perceives and treats street children (advocacy.)