Welcome back to our Step it Up Campaign, where our aim is to inspire others to become more active in charity work by sharing stories of social responsibility.
Meet Rachel Salway
Rachel runs a fair trade fashion and accessories company, www.roseannah.com, based in Sheffield and Greater Manchester. She also has a party-plan arm to the business through ‘Roseannah Style Parties,’ where she holds house parties and provides guests with free mini style and colour consultations. She regularly speaks at conferences and other events, and has been on the radio and TV creating awareness about trading ethics and modern day slavery issues.
What do you do for charities?
“I donate a percentage of sales from my business to different anti-trafficking charities, and in the short time I have been trading have donated over £5000. We have a ‘STOP the Traffick!’ jewellery bracelet collection which supports different anti-trafficking charities in the UK and abroad, and have recently raised enough money to rescue a child from human traffickers. We also empower survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation here in the UK, giving them the skills to leave the past behind and move independently in to a new life.”
How did this happen?
“I started my business after a series of trips to India and Africa that changed my life. I was devastated by the amount of poverty I saw in these countries, and doing nothing about it was not an option for me. I started to work with different organisations to provide life changing skills and training, and empower marginalised people groups in developing countries to bring economic independence and hope.
[This happened] after hearing traumatic stories of lives affected by human trafficking, including a recent story of a lady who was trafficked into the UK from Uganda, who didn’t see the light of day for over 6 years, only managing to escape when she became pregnant and ill, and was dumped at the side of the road. This happened here in the UK not the other side of the world. I was shocked and horrified and decided to invest time and money to help support victims of this horrendous crime.
I began partnering with organisations invested in rescuing, and restoring lives exploited by human trafficking, and started a website campaign called ‘STOP the Traffick!’ I designed, commissioned and now sell an entire collection of jewellery bracelets that support different anti-trafficking charities in the UK and abroad, as well as donating a percentage of website sales to the cause.
I was devastated by stories of children being sold and abused, and became more and more determined and launched another campaign called ‘Destiny Rescue’, to raise money to send under cover rescue agents into the darkest places on earth, risking their own lives to help children escape from the clutches of traffickers. A percentage of sales from parties go directly to the campaign and every time someone buys a Destiny Rescue STOP the Traffick! Bracelet £5 is donated. This campaign supports Destiny Rescue, who are an internationally recognised charity dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They have rescued hundreds of children enslaved around the world, and help keep hundreds more from entering the sex-trade through their various prevention programs.
When I heard more stories of children being exploited here in the UK, I was outraged! It made me very sad and angry, I could not believe how we had failed the most vulnerable children in our own country. After hearing this I knew more most be done to help victims, and launched a Limited Edition STOP the Traffick! Bracelet. This bracelet supports my own project to employ survivors of human trafficking, and sexual exploitation here in the UK, giving them opportunities and training to take back control of their lives. I have since opened shops in Greater Manchester and now Sheffield, and have a brand new jewellery collection empowering survivors of human trafficking in the UK.”
What have you gotten out of it?
“The most important thing to me is to see lives empowered. In such a short space of time I have seen the women I work with flourish, and their hope restored. One particular lady I started working with was very timid, didn’t speak or make eye contact and cowered away, is now a very confident, and extremely funny young lady who has always got a story to tell. She has even been interviewed on TV, to watch the radical transformation in someone’s life is an honour and a privilege.”
Why is this a good fit for you?
“After my trips to India and Africa I knew I had to do something but I didn’t know what. I had always run other people’s business and this was all I knew, so I used my business skills to help change the situation through trade rather than aid, giving people the opportunity to take back control of their lives and break the cycle of poverty I was seeing.”
What’s your advice to anyone thinking of doing this?
“It’s hard work, and I have made sacrifices on a daily basis ever since I started this venture. I am very passionate and committed to what I do, and when the going gets tough these things have got me through, as well as who and why I am doing it. Plus it doesn’t seem like work when you enjoy it so much! I love this quote by Eve Ensler, “An activist is someone who cannot help but fight for something. That person is not usually motivated by a need for power or money or fame, but in fact is driven slightly mad by some injustice, some cruelty, some unfairness, so much so that he or she is compelled by some internal moral engine to act to make it better.”
Please check back often for more Step it Up interviews,
and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!