A Stepping Stone
“Little affirms human dignity more than honest work”, writes Robert D. Lupton in his latest book, Toxic Charity. Simply giving money, clothes or free housing to the poor ultimately creates the welfare mentality of expectation and entitlement. Girls rescued from sex slavery are no exception.
In Freedom Firm, we believe that employment is the best way to empower rescued young women. Ruhamah Designs, a jewelry making business, is Freedom Firm's most tangible method of achieving the long-term goal of getting girls back on their feet and functioning in society after the trauma of trafficking. Catherine Raja, Ruhamah Designs CEO defines successful reintegration as, “living independently, understanding choices, making decisions, holding jobs, investing in healthy relationships, and understanding and respecting boundaries.
Ruhamah Designs is a platform for rescued girls to engage in productive work that also restores the whole person to healthy living. Policies of the company along with the support of aftercare help young women learn how to work in a structured environment that is not oppressive, relate to authority and peers in a healthy way, invest in the future through savings, and obtain relevant education and skills.
Girls need a stepping stone from rescue to independent living. Ruhamah Designs is the ‘sympathetic’ employer who understands the issues rescued girls face given the trauma they have experienced. Catherine explains, “The first year has plenty hand-holding by both workshop managers and social workers of Freedom Firm. They are gently eased into the demands of structure and production. Non-skilled workers leave us as skilled workers knowing their worth.” The wages are more than comparable to similar industries. In addition, Ruhamah Designs offers soft loans, education subsidies, saving schemes, and health benefits including hospitalization and outpatient care.