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Freeset – Kolkata, India

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Freeset is a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata's sex trade. They make quality jute and cotton bags and organic cotton t-shirts, but their business is freedom!  They would like to see the 10,000 sex workers in their neighbourhood empowered with the choice of leaving a profession they never chose in the first place.

Freeset is located in Sonagacchi, the largest, most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India. Within a few square miles more than 10,000 women stand in line selling their bodies to thousands of men who visit daily. Many are trafficked from Bangladesh, Nepal and rural India. For others poverty has left them without options. The cries of their hungry children drive them to sell their bodies.

Gogo Olive - Zimbabwe

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Gogo Olive was set up in late 2008 as a response to the huge unemployment problem in Zimbabwe (it currently stands at around 97%), at a time when conditions in the country were particularly difficult.  As well as creating employment for local women the aim is to give them hope as they have the opportunity to use their craft skills to build a future for themselves and their families.  Their vision is ‘to enable Zimbabwean women to journey into the fullness of life for which God created them’.

LCA – Kolkata, India

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In the heart of Kolkata is a large red light area. Women are forced into the ‘flesh trade’ not by choice but because of poverty.  After generations of this lifestyle the cycle is now broken.  The women are trained to make journals, memo-boxes, scarves, throw rugs and more!  As well as providing economic freedom, each product tells a story of a woman given dignity and self-worth, giving them a chance at a life they otherwise would not have had.

Patchwork Project – Lima, Peru

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Sabina’s mother sold her as a slave when she was only seven years old. She never learned to read, and was mistreated and abused most of her life. The cycle of poverty continued: Sabina’s young daughter also became a mother, and soon had five children.

A grandmother before her time, Sabina kept one of the children to raise. They lived in a shanty-town and she found work at the local market. With her 5-year-old granddaughter, she would stay up all night to make sure no one stole from the stands, which was a very dangerous job.

Sabina had little hope of escaping from poverty until she joined the Patchwork Project. She now earns a living, and can be at home to care for her granddaughter.

Located in Lima, Peru, Patchwork Project provides mothers with income and a trade, so that they can be home with their children.

Starfish Project - Asia

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Starfish Project help and empower
exploited women through:

Building Relationships

Starfish Project staff and volunteers regularly go out to the streets to find and develop relationships with women still trapped in exploitation. These teams go out nearly every day of the week and seek to build meaningful relationships with each woman, and serve them in practical ways, such as taking them for hospital visits, providing language and health education and celebrating the women's birthdays. Nearly all of the women have histories of degradation and abuse before they became trapped in exploitation, so the Starfish Project seeks to affirm each woman as worthwhile and being of value.

From our customers

  • EPHAS offers fantastic customer service, postage is reasonable and quick and the products are simply beautiful. It is easy to promote such gorgeous pieces when they have a story behind them like EPHAS does, and my customers appreciate my sourcing products that are Fair Trade and align with their beliefs. (So not only are the products amazing, but they also sell well.) Wouldn't hesitate to recommend purchasing EPHAS products

    Mel, Owner, Surya Gift Shop
  • I have been thinking about your products a lot. They have struck a cord with me. The story cards were very useful and helped me to clearly understand what Starfish Project does and the important work they are doing. I am really glad to have met EPHAS - thank you for introducing me to your products and giving me the opportunity to support such a meaningful cause.

    Yumi Director, One Village Shop
  • I am always really excited with the new jewellery designs that we order in from EPHAS. The entire range has been very popular with our customers and ever since it landed at One Village, it has been flying out of the shop! We have now increased our range of Starfish Project jewellery to keep up with the demands of our customers. We feel very fortunate to share in the journey with EPHAS to create a brighter future for the women who are behind the beautiful jewellery. Thank you for always providing us with excellent customer care.

    Yumi Director, One Village Shop
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