Freedom is Worth Every Penny: The Soteria Initiative
Every so often, we are hear of creative and incredible organizations that have a direct influence on entire communities. If you haven’t heard of The Soteria Initiative (Soteria: Greek Goddess of safety, deliverance, preservation from harm, and salvation), today is your lucky day. The Soteria Initiative provides jobs for survivors of human trafficking, and uses pennies to create a beautiful message that is shared with those around them.
Soteria founder Khue Paige became invested in the issue of human trafficking- something that sadly, still happens on our own soil- while she was in high school. Through meeting local survivors, she discovered that many of the victims would struggle to find or keep a job. Says Khue, “they would end up going back to ‘the life’ or going back to their pimp, and I just thought there had to be a better option for them.” When she was finished with graduate school, she wasted no time creating The Soteria Initiative. Survivors employed by Khue help create delicate necklaces, bracelets, and pins that feature a penny with any word of the customer’s choice hand-stamped into it. The customer is also able to choose a penny from any year of significance in their life. The copper color of the jewelry is beautiful, but the best part is the meaning behind the one-cent coin.
Khue says “pennies are often thought of as worthless and with no value- the same message that has been ingrained into many of the women we work with and employ; something survivors have been made to feel. We give the pennies a new purpose and life. We want to remind overcomers that they have so much value and worth, and ultimately provide a job for them!”
As much of an impact The Soteria Initiative has on human trafficking survivors by providing them with jobs, it has an equally important role in the lives of customers. “I love that we get to play a small part in people's lives through our pennies.” writes Khue. “We've been able to make pieces to celebrate other survivors and overcomers on their journey of healing. Those pennies are so special. I had a mother and son who are both survivors of trafficking come to me asking to have bracelets made with the word WARRIOR stamped on them with the year they were able to leave that life behind. There was also a sweet family who found me at a local market a couple years ago. They had been collecting 2016 pennies in remembrance of their son and brother who had passed away. They asked me to take those pennies and have the word BELOVED stamped on them and turned into necklaces for all the women in the family. I got to hand-deliver those necklaces to them, and I'm still so humbled to this day that they would entrust such a precious thing to us.”
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month- the perfect time to volunteer with The Soteria Initiative. On January 12th, they will be doing what is called a S.O.A.P Outreach. This is a great and easy way for the community to get involved and engaged. Khue and other employees/volunteers will be meeting at a local church to put the Trafficking Hotline Number on bars of soap and handing them out to the surrounding hotels and motels. They will also be putting up posters of missing children. Amazingly, when Soteria conducted the S.O.A.P outreach in Tucson a few months ago, they were able to find two missing children! To register for the event and learn more, visit https://www.classy.org/campaign/soap-up-phoenix/c213898
The Soteria Initiative is truly an impactful organization that Give Garden is thrilled to support! As a Give Garden subscriber, you are able to choose your fundraising recipient when you sign up, but can change month to month to spread the love if you see multiple charities or organizations that speak to you. Consider choosing Soteria to help support human trafficking survivors!
If you are interested in using your talents and/or passion to help an organization like Soteria, you can contact Khue Paige at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in viewing or purchasing handmade jewelry from The Soteria Initiative, visit http://www.thesoteriainitiative.com/classic-collection.
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