A Guest Blog from Brooke Barlow, Co-Founder & Marketing Strategist at X-Agency
“Why?”. This is a question that I’m asked… a lot.
Several years ago, when I became involved with an organization called Set Free Alliance, I began a journey that I could have never predicted the path or the impact that it would have on my life. I could have never imagined that giving time and resources in Greenville, SC could make such a real difference for children over 10,000 miles away.
Many have asked, “Why India?”, “Why not focus your efforts on children’s ministries right here in Greenville?”, “Why support an issue that may never come to an end?”. All great questions, and all overwhelming examples of the misconceptions of supporting an organization like Set Free Alliance.
So before I dive into why I’m so passionate about Set Free Alliance, let me give you a brief overview on the organization:
SFA is a small team of the most authentic and kind people that I was lucky enough to meet on this incredible journey. What they do isn’t a job or a cause, it’s life. The dedication that I saw during our first meeting made it obvious that this movement was bigger than anything I had been involved with. Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, educate, and mentor thousands of children who have been enslaved in India. They feed them, teach them and love them. And to date, they have rescued over 14,000 children. There are millions of children still enslaved in India, and SFA is committed to save every last one of them.
So why am I so passionate about SFA?
There are more people enslaved in India than any other place in the world.
India’s ancient culture, strict religious system, and economy are built directly on top of it’s caste system, meaning that ‘untouchables’ have little hope of ever escaping from its weight.
Kidnapped, orphaned, and abandoned children that Set Free Alliance rescue are saved from rock quarries and sex trafficking. They go from hopeless and untouchable to remarkable. These are real children who experience more horrors in their first few years of life than we, as adults, could ever fathom.
Make a Real Impact.
By working with Set Free Alliance on fundraising and awareness efforts, I’ve been able to make a real impact in the lives of these children. Children who were thrown away as a result of the very sad, but very real caste system in which they live. Children who were enslaved, beaten, abused and starved. Children who now know what it means to be loved and have a family. Because of Set Free Alliance, these children now live and worship in a beautiful campus where they are safe, fed and nurtured. And since SFA operates on a 100% model, every penny of each donation goes directly to the children.
Although slavery in India will continue to be an epidemic for the foreseeable future, each child that is recused is a life saved. Each and every one of these beautiful children deserve a chance at life and by supporting Set Free Alliance they get that.
Trade, Not Aid.
SFA provides the rescued children with vocational training that allows them to make ten times the salary of an average untouchable. In 2013, they sent 80 graduates of this program into the workplace in India. Then they did something remarkable that no one expected.
In just four years, over 200 graduates gave back over $200,000 to help rescue and care for other children. Giving Set Free children the opportunity to learn a trade not only advances their lives, but also enables SFA to save more and more children.
And if 200 graduates gave back $200,000 in four years, then just imagine how much 200 graduates will give back in four three more years, or how much 1,000 graduates will give back in 10 years. Trade Not Aid invests in children’s lives and allows many more children to be rescued each year.
Become a Hero.
And last, being a mother of three drives me to take action. Knowing that there are millions of children that need a hero compels me to make this MY issue, not simply one that is isolated thousands of miles across the world. These children need advocates, just like me and you, that will give them a voice and a chance at life.
What will be your “why?” this Giving Tuesday.
#GivingTuesday is in its fifth year and is an online giving day that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s a day that encourages individuals to give back to organizations that inspire them.
This year I encourage you to get involved with Set Free Alliance. This will be a decision that will not only make a real impact in our world, but also in your own life. The joy that you will experience by being a part of this incredible movement will be one of the most fulfilling and all inspiring things you will ever do.
So please, get involved this Giving Tuesday, create your own “Why?” and help us in our efforts of ending child slavery. #GivingFreedomDay