Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

Made by Survivors

By Ali Khan, Babson Undergraduate Student and Social Media Intern for the Babson Social Innovation Lab.

When I first learned about Made By Survivors, I was shocked to understand the cruelty of the situation these former sex slaves had endured. Hearing their stories opened up this new perspective on a form of slavery I never truly understood. I grew up in Pakistan, and I experienced poverty and crime firsthand. It was incredibly overwhelming to be so familiar to this environment at such a young age, and coming to America was not only a huge culture shock, but I was very surprised to see how organized everything was; the law, the people, the buildings, everything was perfectly set. These women, these survivors, they have lived in poverty their whole lives, in a culture that barely permits them to leave their home to go grocery shopping. Made By Survivors is doing all they can to make them feel like empowered women who are doing their part in their community in order to be accepted by their male counterparts, and anyone else who doubted their abilities.

Made by Survivors is an international nonprofit organization which employs and educates survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses, including women and children living in extreme poverty.  Their programs create jobs in highly respected professions, with high wages that develop business and leadership skills, which we as Babson students should respect and admire.

Since 2005 Made By Survivors has:

  • Trained and employed 350 survivor artisans
  • Sent 250 children to school with its Education Fund
  • Trained 70 survivors as artisan goldsmiths – breaking gender barriers
  • Invested $165,000 in building new shelters
  • Invested $65,000 supporting their partners rescue programs
  • Invested $22,000 in aftercare programs for rescued survivors

I’ve read many of the personal stories these women have written, and to say that they are inspiring is an understatement. One woman’s view really stuck with me, along with her reasoning behind why trafficking is so easily committed in India:

“People In India need to be educated more, especially the Women. I think educating women is the most Important and effective way to prevent trafficking. The more educated a person is the harder it is to exploit them. Sometimes people are trafficked because they are desperate to meet basic needs like food and shelter.

Other times they are trafficked by people with two faces, people that hide behind goodwill and compassion to prove they can be trusted. These are the most evil people. Alcoholism and Addiction are also factors as they help people to make bad decision or Increase hatred and animosity, which makes it easier for them to exploit people.”

I’ve recently volunteered to consult for Made By Survivors for a class of mine. Along with 5 other colleagues, we plan to help increase awareness of Made By Survivors throughout the world, as well as help them manage their sales process in a more effective manner. To make a donation, or purchase one of their hand crafted jewels, please visit their website.