This week the Fellows had our first Town Hall, meaning our weekly staff meeting. Dave Batstone happened to be in town, he welcomed the Fellows and facilitated the meeting. Most of the meeting, Dave discussed social ventures and about the direction they are moving. For the last 3 months, I have had the opportunity to intern with International Projects and work closely with Christina, our International Projects Director.
One question came up during the meeting, “What makes us (Not For Sale) different than the other organizations?” This question actually came up several times during this last week. I think that that discussion during the Town Hall and all of the other discussions on that very same topic, were all perfectly placed at the beginning on my fellowship. And I am thankful for that. It verified that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. So what makes us different the other organizations?
During the Town Hall Dave broke down the projects. The partnerships between our International Projects and our Social Enterprises have now merged together to be Social Ventures. How does Social Ventures work? I think that Not For Sale’s Methodology explains best what Social Ventures is; Stage I: Safety and Sustainability, which means, rescue, shelter, health care and legal services, these are the necessary means of life. Stage II: Life Skills and Job training, formal and non-formal education or vocation training is provided. Not For Sale believes that equipping at-risk communities with basic skills will prepare individuals for sustainable long-term opportunities. Stage III: Dignified Work and Sustainable Futures, where Not For Sale promotes economic opportunities that lead to long-term employment. And finally repatriation, which is integrating an individual back into society. Not For Sale does not focus on one stage, but focuses on all stages. It is taking those survivors, those that are vulnerable and those that are highly at risk and their families and ensuring that they are provided everything in every stage that will cultivate and promote prospective futures.
Not For Sale does it differently. They work to rescue and prevent victims of human trafficking and then provide them with necessities in life AND then provide education and vocational training so that they can cultivate healthy futures for themselves and their families and do not fall back into human trafficking.
I stand behind Not For Sale, because I also believe in the well being of the whole of an individual and helping them regain their dignity by starting over and receiving shelter, healthcare, legal services, education, vocational training and job placement. So to answer the question, why are social enterprises important to creating change? It is placing the survivors and those that are at risk into jobs that cultivate and promote beautiful futures. Without social enterprises, what would the survivors know what to do after they have been repatriated?
I am so ecstatic that I get to spend the next six months working with Not For Sale Social Ventures.