Earlier this June, two of our leaders were invited to attend the Thistle Farms Network Conference in Tennessee. There, they learned from some of the most innovative minds in sexual exploitation recovery, shared in support with other survivors and leaders from around the country, and were reminded, with the lighting of a candle, why we all do what we do for survivors: There are still so many women out there who need help.
Like Alabaster Jar Project and many other survivor-centered organizations, Thistle Farmsbelieves that survivors of exploitation deserve a second chance and implement support services, housing, and programming to successfully rehabilitate them. What makes Thistle Farms unique is their social enterprise: They have several THRIVING businesses where they employ survivors to manufacture and sell hand-made self-care products, as well as operate a full cafe, among other outlets. They have employed over 1200 survivors over the years, while 70 are currently employed.
Because many survivors’ stories are rooted in poverty and therefore were unable to meet the demands of daily life without becoming exploited, our team has always believed that the key to a survivor’s successful independence is for them to have a stable, sustainable income.
For some time now, our leaders have been formulating our own self-care products with the vision of soon hosting our own social enterprise. Our ultimate goal is to develop a business where we can employ survivors who are residents of Grace House who are actively working their recovery
Through our social enterprise, participating survivors will gain:
A steady income so they can rebuild their lives independently
Legitimate work history, work experience, and reputable references
Trauma-informed, supportive management and coaching in a therapeutic work environment
Not only will a social enterprise create jobs for survivors, but a successful social enterprise that benefits the women we serve will also benefit our organization, therefore allowing us to expand our services and help more and more survivors.
You can begin to support our goal of providing sustainable work for the survivors we serve by visiting our online store where we list our self-care body products. These products are a small handful of what we will eventually offer once our social enterprise is up and running. Check them out! They smell great and are handmade. If you are interested in helping us develop this social enterprise, please contact us! What we envision for the women we serve is much bigger than ourselves, and it will take a lot of helping hands to make this dream a reality.
written by Amanda Moon Ellevis