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Support Freedom Story - Starfish Project - Asia

image of womans hands making jewelry
Starfish Project helps Asian women escape from exploitative situations and gives them the opportunity to heal from both physical and emotional scars.

Empowering Exploited Women in Asia

WorldCrafts and Starfish Project Partner to Offer Opportunities to the Hopeless

Starfish Project developed a socially responsible jewelry 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 their women’s shelter. As of 2013, Starfish Project had grown to support approximately 50 women, primarily through the jewelry company where 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 into other cities in order to help even more women. Since 2011, two separate groups of individuals working with exploited women in smaller, poorer locations have approached Starfish Project about potential partnership in order to utilize the Project’s resources to reach more exploited women in more cities. The need is so great and widespread that Starfish Project decided to expand by opening two new branches of the Project in these two cities. As of 2013, the Starfish Project operates and offers employment and care to exploited women in three different cities in Asia. Starfish Project is committed to restoring hope for each woman who enters its doors.

Amy’s story illustrates the testimony of many of the girls who have come through the doors at the Starfish Project. She writes about her journey with an abandoned mother and an abusive stepfather. “I wanted to go to school, but we did not have enough money. Then my mother remarried, but my stepfather made my mother cry all the time. My stepfather also abused me, but I could tell no one. At 15, not knowing what to do or understanding anything, I left. With no education or anyone to help me, I was forced into a dark world. In order to survive, I was forced to sell my body and self-respect. “When I thought I had reached my end, I met two women from Starfish Project. I left the dark world I was in and came to work at their jewelry company. At first, I was doubtful that my life would really change. But the kindness of these people touched me and helped me to learn to trust again. They gave me hope. I now work in jewelry production. I work hard and I am happy. I celebrated my 21st birthday here. It was the first time someone made me a birthday cake and sang to me. “I am now able to laugh again and cry. Not tears of sadness, but of joy. For the first time I feel that people care about me and love me unconditionally. Now I can dream again. Now I can hope again.”

This is the hope for each girl that steps foot into the Starfish Project— that they would be transported from a dark world into a world of light, hope, and opportunity. Lily also sums up the beauty of restoration these girls undergo. She writes, “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.”

Support the artisans of Starfish Project by purchasing their handmade jewelry.