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Products that support survivors of sex-trafficking: Apne Aap organizes a talk about livelihoods and Income Generation Program

New Delhi, 25th February, 2014:- Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a registered charitable trust in India committed to work towards the empowerment of girls and women today organized a session titled ‘Brand Creation- Products that support survivors of sex-trafficking tomorrow’ with Nina Smith,  Executive Director GoodWeave, Dr Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti trafficking activist and Mayank Mansingh Kaul, textile designer, talking about suitable alternative livelihoods to marginalized women, at the Apne Aap office. The discussion revolved around the efforts required to provide vocational training and formation of self help groups to achieve a better quality of life.

Young girls and women from Apne Aap’s Self Empowerment Groups from Dharampura, Najafgarh, Kolkata and Bihar resource centres have been making diyas, candles, jute wallets, wall hangings, folders and similar handmade products. These young girls and women are in the process of empowering themselves through education, awareness of their legal rights and social entitlements and development of livelihood skills.

With the initiation of this new programme for sustainable livelihood enhancements, Apne Aap’s endeavor is to improve access to financial services’ by facilitating capacity building. It operates through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and focuses on organising women into such groups, while enhancing their access to finance.

Participating in the discussion Ruchira Gupta, Founder President Apne Aap Women Worldwide said, “Many women and girls, who are victims and survivors of prostitution, have joined the movement of Apne Aap in search of livelihood options, by making products and crafts that can be sold to open markets. Some of these women who have been brutalized and traumatised for such long periods, don’t know how to make any products so the question is how do we build a movement around this and how do we sustain the changes we introduce in their lives? Also changing the condition on the ground is not easy as raising awareness about a brand that has social awareness takes time. The idea is to have conscious consumerism;  having a really great product helps but the key is to have something wonderful which will make people want to buy it and then create the brand.”  

Nina Smith, Executive Director, GoodWeave asserted, “The important part of branding is that products with a brand vehicle for raising awareness about sex-trafficking”. Seconding the idea Dr Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti-trafficking activist added, “ The focus should be on economic placement of women in a market, creating skills that help them to stay in the market for the time is how we should be looking at the next steps”.

Moderating the discussion, Mayank Mansingh Kaul added, “The idea to see how design can be applied to a given situation and help in finding solutions. It is very important to have an idea as a design for change through which we can spread awareness about the cause and provoke thinking in the minds of people. With the help of graphics, photos, designs we can create a movement and help Apne Aap create awareness about their cause”.

The session concluded with the audience discussing various measures in which design for change can be implemented at grassroot level.

About Nina Smith,  Executive Director GoodWeave

Nina Smith is the founding executive director of GoodWeave, and has helped to build and lead GoodWeave International operations. She is a tireless advocate for children’s rights and an expert on addressing labor rights violations in manufacturing supply chains. Ms. Smith has presented internationally as well as nationally on these issues at events organized by Harvard University, the American Bar Association: Rule of Law Initiative and Stanford Graduate School of Business, among others. Ms. Smith is a winner of the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, acknowledging her work to employ market strategies for social change. In 2012, she received The Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EXCEL Award for excellence in chief executive leadership, which carries with it a monetary award for continuing leadership development.

A fair trade advocate and expert for two decades, Ms. Smith was formerly the executive director of The Crafts Center, a nonprofit organization providing marketing and technical assistance to indigenous artisans around the world. As president of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) from 1996 to 1998, she launched FTF’s first consumer awareness campaign. She also

was a crafts export consultant to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamsala, India, where she oversaw the development of new market-driven product lines, quality control mechanisms, and artisan training programs. Ms. Smith has served various boards including the FTF and The Tibet Collection. She is a graduate of Tufts University, and is a practitioner affiliate of the Social Enterprise Graduate Degree program at American University. She lives in Maryland with her husband and seven-year-old son.

About Dr Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti trafficking activist

Dr. Jean Baderschneider serves as the Chair of the National Leadership Council of The Polaris Project and is leading a global anti-human trafficking strategy (Vision 2020). Since May 1, 2013, she is also President of End Human Trafficking Now (EHTN), a Geneva, Switzerland based organization focused on engaging the business community in the fight against human trafficking.

Dr. Baderschneider retired from ExxonMobil in February 2013 where she was Vice-President, Global Procurement. She was responsible for all procurement, strategic sourcing, supply chain management, logistics, warehousing and accounts payables worldwide. Over the years, Dr. Baderschneider has traveled and worked extensively all over the world, particularly in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Dr. Baderschneider is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Supply Management and the Executive Board of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).  She was appointed to the Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council of Minority Business Enterprises in February 2011.  She is a past board member of The Center of Advanced Purchasing Studies (CAPS) and the Procurement Council of both The Conference Board and the Corporate Executive Board.

Dr. Baderschneider is a member of the Advisory Council for the President Lincoln’s Cottage, a Historic Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  In addition, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Maret School in Washington, D.C.  She is a member of the Advisory Council of the ILR School at Cornell University and a long time member of Cornell’s President’s Council of Cornell Women. Dr. Baderschneider has a Masters degree from University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

About Mayank Mansingh Kaul

Mayank is a Delhi-based textile-fashion designer working with contemporary hand-crafts, and is simultaneously involved with policy matters related to the development of creative and cultural industries in India.  He is the Founding-Director of The Project India, a not-for-profit organisation looking at archiving projects related to Indian design. A design curator, he curated The Idea of Fashion, a residency and show bringing Fashion designers and artists together, at the Khoj International Artists Residency in Delhi (2011); was on the curatorial team of the Second Edition of The United Art Fair (Sept 2013); and is curator of Fracture – a show on contemporary textiles at the Devi Art Foundation (Upcoming, 2014). As a design writer, he writes for leading Indian and International magazines, and is Issue Editor of Take on Art Design (2012) and an upcoming Indo-French publication on contemporary Indian design (2014).

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