Hi everyone! Courtney here. I wanted to give an update that I received last week. Amidst the craziness of end-of-year fundraising, preparing to ship thousands of bras to both Mozambique and Costa Rica in the next 6 weeks, and brainstorming on some new, exciting things that are coming in 2019, it can be easy to lose sight of the lasting impact or the ripple effect we have on the world.
Sometimes I can get so focused on the details - the little picture filled with tax receipts and renewing domain names and gathering data for our metrics and speaking and looking at spreadsheets of how many bras we have - that I can miss the lasting impact of the big picture. I rarely forget the past or the right-now or the future of our women, but I can sometimes forget the future of our staff, our board of directors, and our supporters.
But these futures are just as bright and glorious.
We announced at the beginning of this year that we had phased out our Ugandan program. Due to changing of import laws and taxes as well as the incredible number of NGOs working with this same population, we determined that closing our Ugandan branch after ensuring a transition for the women in our program there would be the best option as we seek to be good stewards of all of our resources.
I’m going to be honest - it was hard. Very hard. Especially since my personal journey with FTG began in Uganda as a program partner. I purchased the very first FTG bra in Uganda years ago. I watched women from our safe-home who had struggled with figuring out their “what next” to becoming thriving businesswomen. So phasing out this particular program was probably the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in this role.
I purchased the very first FTG bra in Uganda years ago. I watched women from our safe-home who had struggled with figuring out their “what next” to becoming thriving businesswomen.
But just because we phased out doesn’t mean our impact fizzled out.
And just because FTG is no longer in Uganda doesn’t mean lives of trafficking survivors aren’t being revolutionized.
But my favorite part - it’s not us.
Nivas was our Program Manager for FTG UG. She’s an incredible woman with an amazing work history and a great mind for analyzing trends and being creative. Plus, she has such a heart for those in oppressive situations. When I called her to tell her that we were closing our Ugandan program, she so graciously said she understood but that I shouldn’t worry - she wasn’t stopping.
And she didn’t. Talk about an Everyday Abolitionist. I’ve been communicating with her on and off all this year, but I didn’t understand the full scope of what she was doing. Until yesterday. When I opened the very first newsletter she sent. And this was the opening line:
125 women whose lives have been changed by Nivas and those she has found to partner with her. She has taken the training and curriculum FTG had given her and has become an expert, an Everyday Abolitionist in her community in ways we never even dreamed. She and her team have held seminars with both local and international presenters, they’ve cultivated a strong relationship with a church who prays daily for these women, and they have shops all over Uganda selling an assortment of things.
I’m elated. The lasting impact for the women that were directly involved in FTG has been a reminder for me that FTG UG was not a failure. But hearing about this ripple effect - that lives are changing, that seeds are being planted all over the world, that Nivas has taken the mantle of Everyday Abolitionist and has owned it more than I could have imagined….I feel so small - in a good way, the way you do when you stand in front of the ocean or in front of towering mountains.
You feel so small and yet still like you matter and belong.
I hope this doesn’t read like I’m giving FTG credit for what Nivas has done - I’m not . We are one small part of Nivas’s story, and I’m so honored that we are. But this is her story, her lasting impact on the world. What’s yours?
So friends - when you give your money, it makes a difference. When you give your bras, it helps change a woman’s life. And when you give of yourself - your time and your talents - it changes the world.
We’re over a third of the way to our 30&30 goal by year’s end. Keep up the generosity. And invite others to do so - you never know the ripple effect that action could have on the world.