Welcome to My Crazy World23 Dec 2008, by Uncategorized in
This is my first blog ever and I am pretty excited to be joining the 21st century at last. Next week, on Jan. 31st, I will be leading a group of 12 volunteers to India to provide services (therapeutic arts, economic empowerment, etc ) to women and teens who are survivors of modern day slavery, and to children who are growing up in red light areas or government shelters. So this seemed like a great time to start blogging and sharing my experiences and feelings. Visiting red light areas full of children and enslaved young women obviously brings up a lot of painful feelings. But I wouldn’t want it any other way, because it was my feelings of despair and outrage upon learning about modern slavery that led me to launch The Emancipation Network. And, it is the feelings of love and inspiration that I get from working with our creative, courageous, entrepreneurial survivors, that keeps me going and fills me with whirling dervish energy to help them.
In case you don’t know me personally, I’m a former professional musician and current mother of two, and am running TEN – an abolition organization and social purpose business – with my husband John Berger, who is an entirely different kettle of fish. Read John’s blog to hear his spin on our adventures running this organization together over the past 3 years. When I first learned about the human rights emergency of modern day slavery (and you can read the back story by clicking here), I was devastated, and also compelled to dedicate the rest of my life to fighting slavery. Some events which I consider miraculous led me to approach the issue from the perspective of economic empowerment.
So before I knew it, I found myself running an international social purpose business and abolition organization. Seriously, I had no previous experience with retail, importing, product development, or directing a nonprofit. There have been some rough moments along the way, and frequently I find myself in some totally bizarre and unfamiliar location or situation – sitting on the floor of a shelter engulfed with chilren, or trying to decipher a bill of lading) and I wonder again with some amazement: ‘what am i doing here!?’
Having said that, I am also one of the world’s happiest people. I am buoyed constantly by the amazing compatriots I have found in this work,and most of all the love and courage of the several hundred survivors and high risk people that we serve. Every day, I get to witness transformation and hope in the lives of people who the world long forgot. Every day, I get to take concrete actions, from purchasing and selling products made by survivors, to enlisting and mobilizing others to action, to arranging for freed slaves and their children to attend school for the first time, which contribute to the worldwide anti-slavery movement, and which empower individuals to become slavery-proof.
So it’s a wonderful life. And considering the fact that this journey started for me from a place of extreme grief following the untimely death of my mother, I think I’m enjoying my own personal miracle every day too.