Friday, 18 May 2012


Last night was the local embroiderers guild meeting and along with the usual presentation of members work and a fascinating talk about goldwork they also had a very interesting and challenging guest speaker from an organisation called Freeset. Freeset is a company offering work and training to women wanting to escape the sex trade in India. They offer women and thier children a chance to earn a living and learn skills to help them support themselves and thier families and break the cycle of poverty.

The guest speaker was a NZer who goes to India every year as a volunteer to help in any task needed in the factory and she spoke frankly about her experiences in India. She spoke of the thousands of women (mostly young girls) who were brought into the area by train every day to work in the sex trade. The rows upon rows of women and girls lining the streets in the red light area vying for work. Separated only by curtains in the street from the women working.

It was truly disturbing and broke my heart. The sheer numbers of women and child affected was overwhelming and the desperate cycle of prostitution to survive, the birth of more children who at young ages also enter the trade, the incidence of back street abortions and the prevalence of HIV and AIDs. Human trafficking really is the lowest point of humanity and the thought of the women, children and babies affected is very upsetting.
It makes me feel so grateful for what i have but it also makes me feel that i should be doing more to help. I find it overwhelming and upsetting, and i want to do something to help, but i often wonder how any small thing i do can really make a difference. The speaker read this poem which reminded me that any small action is better than no action at all.

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.
He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you 
throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Too true isn't it?
My small thing to help was to purchase a couple of bags made in the freeset factory.

Beautiful work and such a good cause.
Please head over to the Freeset site and read more about thier work.

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