Our story begins with simply wanting to do something. At that time, that something was sharing what we had just heard, the injustice of human trafficking followed by the hope to raise awareness and funds to fight this insidious crime. What we had was little. No event experience, no fundraising experience, young babies, no money and just hearts to help.
What we did have was school playgrounds, workplaces, community groups, and spheres of influence. We used them to get our first high tea off the ground and called it, Be Her Freedom. We filled the room by committing to purchase tables for our friends and inviting them free of charge. We sold out to just over 100 people. But what happened next was just incredible.
Everyone in the room was moved, they were emotional, they were inspired and they too wanted to do more. Each woman we invited gave all she had; purchasing random products we had bravely collected from businesses in the neighbourhood and donating what they could. Through small corporate sponsorships and a room full of generous women, that year our goal of raising $3000 was instead a $10,000 success, more than that, the whole room wanted to do more. So we decided to do it again. How could we not, if just one young life sold into sexual slavery could be rescued and restored then it was worth every effort!
The next year the event doubled in ticket sales and in profits raised. The following year it tripled and so we launched in two new states. Leading the way was, and still is our Hobart event, selling out to the largest venue we can find. It fits 1000 people and now we have had to look at running multiple, back to back events to meet the demand of passionate women wanting to attend.
Business partnerships grew, collaborations were formed and whole communities knew about the hidden and what can sometimes feel like the far away issue of human trafficking, and wanted to help.
Since then, the effect of freedom has been significant. Actually mind-blowing. We have raised awareness and empowered over 20,000 women through our events, school programs and online workshops. We have worked in partnership with organisations on the ground and have funded hotlines, housing, medical procedures, rescues, restoration and prevention programs in third world countries. We have seen culture here in Australia shift, with people moved from apathy to empathy and choosing to use what’s in their hands to help. We have launched successful social enterprise collaborations donating 100% of profits raised to the cause and we have given a voice to the voiceless in a way that reaches and empowers everyday people to make a difference.
In this time we have won business awards, received some of the highest recognitions for making change, donated more than half a million dollars and empowered tens of thousands of people. All because a group of volunteers decided 8 years ago to not look away, but instead do what they could to help.
From accountants, security guards, corporate businesses, to stay at home mums, everyone has played their part in making the ripple effect of fighting for freedom felt both locally and globally. And now, as we step into this new season, we invite you to join us to multiply what has begun.
Be Hers is only powerful because of you. It’s because of everyone who puts his or her hand up to fight for freedom. We can’t do this alone, but together we can make a difference far greater than we could ever imagine alone. Whether it is hosting or attending an event, shopping for change, collaborating, sponsoring or volunteering this invitation is inclusive.
You can make a difference. If we can, you can! Whether you’re a man or woman, teenager or child, if you have freedom you can use it to fight for theirs. Alone we can do so little, together we can create change across the world and see slavery end once and for all.
WRITTEN BY MELODY TOWNS