I support work for a charity called The Medaille Trust. I have been working there for just over a year now, it keeps my finances ticking over and equally makes me feel better for putting my energy to good use and helping people who need it.
I had never had a care job before so was quite new to it but being a generally thoughtful and aware person I naturally picked it up. I can honestly say I love my job.
The charity has a number of safe houses across the UK which houses victims of human trafficking. There are numerous organisations which houses victims and we are jut one of them. Human trafficking consists of anyone working against there will or are exploited in any way the most common form of modern day slavery is sexual slavery, forced labor or the extraction of organs or tissue.
I remember my first day I was told to comfort a women who was going over her home office additional grounds statement – this is what you can add to your statement given at your interview at the home office, if you feel it is lacking any extra info then this is your chance to add it. She was very upset and shaking lots, I held her hand and put an arm around her like you would to comfort another. She began to pour her story of rape, slavery and abuse it was easily the most horrific thing I had heard come from someone right next to me in all my life. This was a job like no other and I was up for the challenge and felt I could really help to make a difference, whether it be there to hold a hand or listen to these stories that no one should ever have to go through.
My first 6 months went from being employed to running a house full of women and children, I was made house supervisor and thrown in right at the deep end. I had never been put in the situation of looking after the lives of so many people. It was a challenge and at times I felt like a personal assistant making sure appointments were attended, house meetings took place and everyone’s needs were being met. These women and children were my priority in life for that 6 months, sometimes I would go home and cry that I just couldn’t do everything and make things right. The most important part is to remain positive and leave your own worries and stress at the door, these people need you on form and if your sad they’re scared. Over time more people were employed and things got easier in the house, the responsibilities between staff evened out and I could trust that other staff members were going to put as much passion and heart into their jobs as I was.
We have a great team now and the charity has gone from strength to strength we have helped many women, men and children find suitable accommodation and are still doing so. Im not saying its easy because it is far from it. We are contracted to a 45 day rest and reflective period for the victims which is not enough time to help someone turn there life around especially when they come to us traumatised and unable to talk about their stories for weeks to begin with. We are really pushing for the 45 days to be extended to 90 day so we can really help and make sure these people are ready to leave our care. Our goal is to have these people set up in their own home, learning English at a local college and just getting on with a normal life of being independent and free. Some times they may want to go back to their home country so we can help them to do so. More often than not the ordeal which they have been through to get to the UK is so distressing for them and to return to their countries can even mean they are returning to their own death at times especially in African countries. Below is an image of the way some people are brutally murdered by putting a tire round them and burning them alive, this is very real in certain parts of Africa and the lady I spoke of earlier had a very real chance of this happening to her if she returned home due to her village believing she was a witch who murdered her own husband. Thankfully this women and her child have the legal right to remain in the UK and not be deported.
I would like people to do their own research on just how horrific this evil trade is. This is a issue in our country that needs to be addressed. It is disgusting that we call ourselves a country which prides its human rights and there are people being locked in bedrooms forced to have sex with countless men a day. The government should be focusing its attention to the traffickers and prosecuting them with serious jail time. There should be more raids on houses suspected of human trafficking and traffickers should be so scared of going to jail for life that this crime just does not happen anymore. There should not be a market for any of this in the UK.
Ive been wanting to do some fundraise/ awareness events for the charity for some time now so this year it started. I like the idea of giving a little something back to the charity and also getting more of the general public aware of whats happening in their country. I started to come up with ways and ideas to go around this and thinking of the best possible ways to get attention. I wanted to design a t-shirt we could all where on the day a sort of uniform to make us stand out a bit. The design came from a staff meeting we had and my manager and old friend Jess Gealer raised the idea of having a price tag but instead of having a price it would be ‘not for sale’ meaning that human beings are NOT for sale. I liked this idea of not for sale slogan so I came up with a design and got some tees printed.
My friend Luke Allan founded a student society in Winchester University called Urban inventors which was set up for people on the street art degree to be able to come and perform in the aid of helping charity and evolving in their own practice at the same time. He approached me to see if The Medaille Trust would like to collaborate and proposed the idea of doing an event in Winchester. Unfortunately when the event came around in July there were no students around to help with the event although one very lovely women and co founder of the society Juliana Teuchert did come and help for the day with her stilts and clown face at the ready which helped a lot with gaining attention to us.
We had our event at Winchesters st Maurice Covert which is a great spot just on the high street, it was a beautiful sunny day and we got lots of attention. We all learnt a lot from our first charity event and know it will develop in future ones. We raised money for the charity and also for another charity we have linked with in Kenya. The kenyan charity is called Mamma Margerets and they have a workshop set up to keep the women out of brothel work as it is something many people are forced to do if they can’t find work and want to provide for the families. They make jewelery and other items in the workshop using mainly beads, wire, wood and seeds. This is our job to sell and in return the workshop remains sustainable if the stock sells. Its lovely stuff and so far its been very popular so I have good feelings about it and am motivated to make it work for them. All proceeds go to charity.
If you would like to read more about our Kenyan charity link Mamma Margarets then follow this link http://www.medaille.co.uk/MedailleNLS2013.pdf pages 8-9.
You can also buy Mamma Margarets stock in a shop which is currently stocking some in London, Bethnal green street called Cult Mountain http://www.cultmountain.com/.
You can also find out more about the charity on http://www.medaille.co.uk/