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Starfish Project was established in 2006 to empower exploited women in Asia. Women who now experience freedom from the sex-trade.

The Project developed a socially responsible jewellery business in order to provide women with alternative employment and a range of holistic care services. Starfish Project provides opportunities for women to heal and grow through counseling, vocational training, language acquisition, family education grants and health care access, as well as providing housing in our women’s shelter. As of 2013, the Project had grown to support approximately 50 women, women have taken on new levels of responsibility and leadership, and are able to provide for their families through meaningful employment.

After successfully developing a business model and holistic care program, Starfish Project is expanding in order to help even more exploited women in smaller, poorer locations in more cities. The need is so great and widespread that Starfish decided to expand by opening two new branches.  Starfish Project is committed to restoring hope for each woman who enters its doors.

Lily's* Story

I was born in a very poor family and when I was 13 my father died. At 17 my mother did not have enough money to send me to high school so she sent me with my older sister to the city. My sister organized a job for me there but when I went to start work, I discovered that I had been tricked by my own family members. They had sold me into exploitation. The owner told me that I had to work for him or he would kill me, so I had to stay. The boss would often mistreat me and I received a lot of hurt to my body and my heart in that place. I experienced many horrible things. After about a year there I heard of a woman who worked for Starfish Project. I asked her if I could go to work at their jewelry company. They hired me right away. I fled the horrible place and went to work for Starfish.    

When I first arrived, I felt I was worthless and acted out in many ways. Then I went through counseling at Starfish Project, and I was able to let go of my past hurts, anger and bitterness. I realized that I am lovable, capable and finally, have hope. I also felt that I should be a light to other women, so I decided to get training in counseling. I have been attending classes through the Starfish Project. A few years ago I got married and I now have a beautiful baby. I live with my family in our own apartment and work as part of the management team for the Starfish Project jewelry company.

*names have been changed to respect the privacy of the women.

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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