An Unlikely but Perfectly Matched Partnership for our UK Launch!
Naffy, Resident Brit, Starfish Project
As we worked to get our new UK Websites up and running in time for our big launch into the UK, one of the Survivor Leaders at Starfish Project Riverside Branch said to me: “Thank you for giving us this chance to practice our skills!” She had just spent a whole day uploading product information and changing everything from dollars to pounds.
It struck me that what seemed to be a really tedious but necessary task had given Li Li a spring in her step that day - the chance to do something different, to try her hand at a new kind of work, and ultimately gain new skills for her CV. She was bursting with gratitude! For the women at Starfish Project, it is these small tasks, one by one, that become life-transforming. By helping each woman believe she can do more than her trafficker or abusive family members told her she could.
I believe that anyone can learn anything, with enough training and support. This is one of the underlying assumptions behind Starfish Project’s commitment to help each and every woman pursue a long-term career journey: because they can do it! They should have always had the opportunity to pursue it, and once they are at Starfish Project, they do. Everyone deserves dignified work.
We are therefore extremely excited that our launch into the UK will be helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK to also have this opportunity!
We have been wanting to launch into the UK for some time, with the founders of our Riverside Branch being from the UK and many other friends of Starfish Project who are deeply passionate about our mission. However, when we considered ways of shipping our jewelry, like through an agency - it just didn’t seem right.
I kept thinking, how can we make the delivery of our UK orders also reflect our values, so that every single penny our customers spend is doing something good?
Before I joined Starfish Project and moved to Asia, I worked for another incredible Social Enterprise called Treasure Seekers.
Treasure Seekers works with over 2,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged people every week in more ways than you can count or imagine! There is a leadership course designed for adults with learning disabilities; a 365 day a year mental health drop-in service, a community kitchen, and even a performing arts group! They pride themselves on being a place where ‘people become the best versions of themselves.’ I have seen firsthand how people who are often forgotten or pushed aside, have found joy, love, safety, and self-confidence at Treasure Seekers beyond what they ever imagined was possible for their lives. It truly is a beautiful and unique place.
Dan, a volunteer at the coffee shop, was sharing with me earlier today that he has been really struggling to get into paid work and was not sure where to start. However, at Treasure Seekers, he has been able to ‘practice serving customers at the till, build confidence, and generally get the stepping stone I need towards paid work.’ Just like Li Li, step by step, he is realizing he can do more than he thought!
So why would we look any further for an innovative UK-based Social Enterprise to partner with for our UK distribution!? It seemed all too obvious to me, but I wasn’t sure if others would see this vision too - I mean, what do human trafficking in Asia and volunteer training in Gloucester have to do with each other?!
However, to my delight, it seemed just as obvious to everyone else, too, that this was the perfect match!
As Gill, the Training and Development Lead at Treasure Seekers (and long-term Starfish Project fan!) shared:
“Both organizations are so passionate about building into people's lives that it makes so much sense that they are cooperating together to do something bigger.’
Katie, one of the Founders of Treasure Seekers, shared how excited she was that Treasure Seekers would be able to provide more ‘behind the scenes’ work training opportunities, especially for those volunteers who would feel a bit anxious doing customer-facing work but perhaps have great attention to detail!
Jenny, the Founder, and CEO at Starfish Project, shared with me how her own experiences of raising a son on the Autism spectrum made her especially passionate about partnering with an organization that sees the incredible potential each person has, instead of just the barriers they are faced with. “Whether it’s supporting a woman who has just left a brothel or training people on the spectrum, we are both in some ways tackling the same issues: how to help people realize their full potential.”
This means that every Starfish Project order in the UK will not only be proving those life-changing career development opportunities for women in our Riverside Branch but also help someone like Dan get that all-important stepping stone into paid work for the first time.
Jordan, the manager who will be heading up our UK Distribution at Treasure Seekers, perhaps said it best: “Hopefully, this partnership means that even more women out there can finally receive the help that they truly deserve."
And that’s just it for me.
Why do these two seemingly unrelated organizations on opposite sides of the world make the perfect partnership?
Because they are both full of people who believe that Everyone Deserves Dignified Work, and have made it their life’s mission to help them get it!
If you are in the UK, or shopping for someone in the UK, you have an incredible opportunity right now! You can support lives to be transformed on three continents! And, you can give the perfect gift while you do it!
For the first time ever, Gift Sets will also now be available in the UK! Curated by survivor leaders in Asia and assembled together and posted with love by Treasure Seekers.
Why don’t you do a Random Act of Kindness today, with perhaps the most impactful and meaningful gift you could ever give? Send someone a Gift Set and tell them on the handwritten note how much you believe they are capable of! Tell them how much you believe in them and that they deserve great opportunities in their lives. By doing so, you will not only encourage them through a high-quality 14K gold jewelry gift, you will also introduce them to the incredible impact of Starfish Project through the story of hope included and be supporting some of the most vulnerable people in Gloucester to achieve the potential they’ve always had inside.
Here at Starfish Project and Treasure Seekers, we believe that everyone deserves meaningful work.
If you do too, join us - this group of people trying to turn that belief into action. Buy a Gift Set today and help give Li Li and Dan the stepping stone they need to get the opportunities they’ve always deserved.