May 19, 2022 was a great day for current and former residents of Miriam's House. The International Organization for Migrants (https://www.iom.int/) held its first ever orientation session to identify and register vulnerable women and girls for skills training that will lead to the implementation of their own businesses. We took 18 women and girls on behalf of Miriam's House and five of them were selected for the program! This means a radical life change for the women and their families, they will be funded and supported in pursuing a dream! What an opportunity.
The women who participated in the meeting today were all impacted in a positive way, having had no exposure to this kind of training or surroundings (it was hosted in a hotel), giving them all a glimpse into what they are doing the hard work to accomplish. Even the women who were not selected came away with a sense of inspiration and hope.
You can join us in ending slavery through empowering programs and other women like them!
Many of you might remember Mehak because you donated towards a painting we had done of her last year. Mehak was kidnapped and forced to marry a much older man, and when we finally found her was pregnant with his child and enduring constant abuse. We were able to legally get her removed from the home and she has since given birth to the baby and is flourishing with her mother and sisters! Here she is today (in the white head covering) with Ben.
Your support is often a matter of life or death and we are so grateful.
You can help support more amazing women like Mehak by clicking here:
Have you ever felt the crash of a wave against your skin? Have you been dazzled by a sunset only to take a picture and the results are lacklustre and you have to caption it: “doesn’t do it justice”? The visceral reality of our experiences are impossible to fully capture, and they shape our ability to imagine. While Television and the internet can show us what is out there, it is no substitute for the real thing with the sights, smells, sensations and sounds that translate into our brains the full spectrum of “experience”.
Our friends in the brick kilns live an hour from civilization, and many have never stepped foot into a grocery store, shopping mall, or park. Their lives have consisted almost entirely of clay mud, burning smoke and brick after brick after brick. This year for our End of Year Celebration, we decided to give them an experience that will enable them to imagine something beautiful beyond the brick yards - we hosted an all day banquet in a lavish wedding hall complete with decorations and food and fun! It was a full-fledged celebration of the children's studies and to communicate to the adults that they can dream and move towards somewhere they have never been before. It was our way of giving them the gift of imagination and it was a huge success! We bussed our students, parents and teachers in and gave them the celebration they deserve for all the hard work they put in throughout the year, building a future they’ve barely begun to imagine!
Our friends showed up dressed to the nines with sparkles in their eyes! That was their gift to us, a wonder to behold. Indeed, they shone brighter than the decorations our team assembled!
Sometimes we need to peek through the window of possibility to inspire us to keep going. This was us throwing the curtains open for our friends to hope and then take actionable steps towards that hope. They have to fight adversity and persecution to get out of their situations, requiring perseverance and dedication, it’s not easy to overcome slavery. Giving them something to dream of will inspire and motivate them to keep on going, for themselves and for the generations to come.
You can be part of them realizing their dreams by joining us in our endeavors to liberate, educate and invest. Click below to see how you can get involved!
This is Saima, a 23 year old woman with a bright and hopeful future! Not long ago she lived in the despair of slavery - to her drug addicted, abusive husband and to the work of bonded labor in the brick kilns. With your help, we were able to pay her debt and move her and her four children to Miriam’s House, a home of hope and restoration for women and their families.
She is excited about learning to sew, an essential skill in the region in which she lives, one that will aid her in providing for her family and creating a sustainable future. Her children can now attend school safely and begin a life of freedom!
To help more women and families like Saima and her children, click the button below.
It has been such a deep honor to serve with you this past year. With the world still in such upheaval politically, economically, spiritually and socially, we have had front row seats to the goodness of humanity. Crisis is so often the catalyst for change, for connectedness, for shared humanity to rise up and create hope. We have seen this on display through your generosity and willingness to continue to support our efforts to see all people become free.
To date, here are the ways your contributions have impacted the world of our dear friends in the Middle East:
So, thank you! From our hearts and the hearts of those whose lives you have impacted, thank you. While we are thrilled with what we have accomplished together so far, we believe we are just getting started! The time to eradicate slavery is NOW, the world is ready to see it end. As always we are dedicated to remaining on the front lines of change, to utilizing your support to create a world of freedom, and to empower those in bondage to truly break free. Indeed, no one is free until all people are free.
The Team at All People Free
According to the International Labor Organization, child labor has decreased by 38% since 2000, from 246 million to 152 million. This is such great news and it is due to people like you, opening emails like this, and choosing to take action to end child labor!
We can all agree that exploiting children is wrong on all accounts and should not be happening in our world today. Right now All People Free is working to end slavery in the brick kilns of the Middle East and Asia where roughly 10 million children are forced to work with little hope of freedom unless there is intervention.
Compassion International facts and stats
Unicef Child Labor info
Children and girls in the brick kilns face extreme mental and physical trauma, the conditions they are subject to are volatile and inhumane. Extreme stress on the physical body, lack of clean water, malnutrition, and smog from burning coal create extremely high rates of those who are born physically and mentally challenged. In this environment, which promotes survival of the fittest, a young family of girls has very little hope of creating a life outside of the brick kilns. Their status in society is low, and it is likely that they will marry others in the brick kilns and be required to live and work there for the rest of their lives.
When we learned of Chanda and her family, we knew we had to step in and help get them out of the brickyard. Chandra’s father passed away last year and left her, her mother, brother, sisters and cousin with the debt he had incurred. Supreme Court laws in this region require that children be released from their fathers debt once he passes away but lower courts and police will ensure that they remain enslaved to the brickyards until the debt is paid in full.
With the help of our partners on the ground, this was not to be Chanda and her sister's destiny! We have moved them into Miriam’s House - a safe home where they are experiencing community care and learning the skills they need to thrive as free people. During their time in our restoration homes we will carefully create a constructive community that reinforces their value and identity.
This is where your support can make a difference. Chanda and her family’s debt was equal to about $1,650 usd and while All People Free has made arrangements to pay it in full to release them from the brickyards, we have yet to raise the actual money.
Would you be willing to step in and help?
We wish we could say that hers is the only family in this situation, but that’s just not reality. Until we end the entire system, there will be more families living like this. Right now we have 8 other families in similar situations that are ready to start their new life.
"A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman."
- Melinda Gates
When women are given equal access to education, economics and resources, it benefits the entire community by tackling the root causes of poverty. Do you know that statistically, educated women who have economic agency tend to invest 90% of their income into their families?
That’s why we have started 7 trade schools for girls. We educate women who would otherwise be slaving away in the brickyards--or worse, trafficked into the sex trade--and train them in practical skills such as sewing and business management. The long term impact of this is education, economic growth, and a more empathetic society.
“I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds, but our hearts and our souls.” - Malala Yousafzai
I (Romay) was given the honor of addressing the women we serve - some of them teachers in our primary schools, some students of our trade schools, most brickyard workers, all of them human. All of them made in the image of God and all of them deserving of value, empathy and love.
We are so amazed at how many women joined us for this incredible day! To look into the beautiful faces of such strong, resilient women and tell them that they have what it takes to make lasting change for their children was something so special.
We believe that empowering women with skills and agency is a giant leap towards creating a better future for the whole community - the whole world.
“Education also strengthens economies. When female citizens are better educated, they have a greater chance of becoming gainfully employed, which then raises the income of the entire household. For proof, look no further than a 2003 study by UNESCO, which showed that for every year that a country's average years of schooling increases, its long-term economic growth increases by 3.7%.” Read more
The Importance of Women's Empowerment
“Improved literacy can have a remarkable effect on women’s earnings. As stipulated in the 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, in Pakistan, working women with high levels of literacy skills earned 95% more than women with weak or no literacy skills, whereas the differential was only 33% among men. Educated women are empowered to take a greater economic role in their families and communities, and they tend to reinvest 90% of what they earn into their families.”
“We define women’s economic empowerment as the transformative process by which women and girls go from having limited power, voice, and choice at home and in the economy to having the skills, resources, and opportunities needed to access and compete equitably in markets and the agency to control and benefit from economic gains.”
Let's acknowledge that 2020 has been quite a year—one that none of us saw coming! For these reasons, we are all the more humbled and grateful for the generosity and support we’ve been able to provide because of people like you.
Since we had to cancel all of our fundraising events early on, we felt deep concern for the people we are supporting in the Middle East and Asia as they faced the same pandemic as us, only on top of extreme poverty, threat, and slavery. But, while navigating a global pandemic, economic shut downs, isolation and grief, you showed up for them and offered yourself to elevate humanity and bring collective good. We ended up reaching our goals and able to do far more than we thought possible!
That’s why you are invited to zoom out and look at a bigger picture—a hope-filled one. A picture of what you have accomplished by using your privilege and resources to participate with us in offering real, tangible hope to real, tangible people.
Below are some of the highlights of the year, some of the good that has been accomplished in the midst of everything else. Take a look and celebrate some of the ways you helped bring hope into a hard, hard year.
From all of us at All People Free, thank you so much for being in this with us. It means everything.
Even with interruptions in schooling due to Covid-19 lockdowns, we were able to make progress through our primary and trade schools:
During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have been able to partner with our sewing students, teachers, and other professionals to bring aid to families in crisis:
With your help, we were able to get Anna's House—our first restoration home—up and running:
The issue of bonded labor is not just an issue of morality, it's a systemic problem built into the fabric of the brickmaking industry in the Middle East and Asia. Freeing families is not enough if the system isn't changed in the process. At All People Free we want to end slavery, which means addressing the parts of the brickmaking system that rely on and encourage slave labor.
Ending Bonded Labor
We are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to make the brickyards in Pakistan profitable without relying on human slavery for production. We aim to invest in good people and good methods to ensure brickyards are run in a way that is beneficial to the brickyard owners and their employees, without the use of inhumane labor practices. Ultimately, we aim to buy a brickyard to run a prototype system, modeling a more efficient and humane way of making bricks!
In the long term, this means we'll be changing the very heart of how brick making is done, creating desirable jobs with fair wages, and investing in communities from the ground up, implementing real change.
Investing in Humane Brickmaking
We have had the opportunity of talking with hundreds of brick kiln owners, which has helped us to recognize some of the systemic problems keeping bonded labor intact. A key component to seeing this destructive system end requires the introduction of technology to replace inhumane1 labor. We all know machines have the ability to significantly reduce human labor. In most modern countries we have become accustomed to tractors, power tools, and hydraulic machinery, but many underdeveloped countries have yet to make the transition to machinery. Why? There are several reasons, including discrimination, lack of education, and greed. As education is becoming easier to access, change is happening to the world systems. We believe we can bring positive change to the way bricks are manufactured, and for the sake of the children, we must.
Leading Brickmaking Innovation
Our friend Syeda Ghulam Fatima has successfully run three brick kilns without slave labor. Syeda is best known for her work as a human rights activist in the brick kilns of Pakistan. She is the recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award and is now known around the world for her work to end bonded labor in the Middle East & Asia. Having been shot and stabbed while attempting to rescue bonded laborers, she knows firsthand the brutality of bonded labor. With over thirty years of experience fighting to end slavery, she has made several significant milestones, such as the legal rights to emancipate bonded labor, and advanced strategies to end it. (Learn more here) In spending some time with Syeda and listening to her team’s strategy, we have confirmed that the solutions are simple and a collective effort will result in change. The use and demonstration of more efficient technology is the way forward.
Investment in Humanity
If creating jobs, humane systems, and ending bonded labor through investing in socially conscious brick-making technology interests you, we would love to hear from you and discuss opportunities to invest in these innovative businesses. Starting humane brick-making factories is more than just a business investment. It’s an investment freedom for people who deserve a future, in local business and economy in small villages, and in creating systems that are far better for the environment than the current brick kilns. If you would like further information or discussion, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: email@example.com.
Give the Gift of Innovation
Beyond brickmaking, this Holiday season, we have a few ways you can contribute to helping those formerly enslaved in the brickyards find ways to start their own businesses and learn skills that will contribute to building a sustainable future for themselves and their families. From trade school tuition to sponsoring a small business, the options below are all ways to help give someone an opportunity to make a living outside the brickyard.
How to Give the Gift of Innovation:
At the beginning of 2014, I told my parents that I no longer wanted to work making bricks, that since I was their only daughter, they must think about my future. They agreed. Then, in June of that year, my mother noticed breast pain and on the way to the hospital she and my father had an accident on their motorcycle. My father was injured so badly he was not able to work and the test my mother received showed that she had a tumor and needed surgery. For a while, we didn’t take her condition seriously, though she was on medication. And my father could not work the same as he did before. We wanted to be free so we worked so hard.
My mother’s condition worsened, she was in so much pain and getting worse by the day. The doctors said she had breast cancer and needed surgery but working as slaves, we could not afford the treatment. In 2017 my father borrowed money from the brickyard owner for my mother's surgery, and we prayed every day for her healing. Her surgery was a success! Eventually my mother was able to start work again and my father could help bring us clay.
In May 2020, Brother Suleman with All People Free came to visit us and we told him about our circumstances. He made a way for us to leave the brickyard and live in Anna’s house. Now I have started studying again at Anna’s House and I’m learning to sew. Soon we will begin learning to sew Bible covers, ladies purses, and clutches. We feel that God has seen our pain and heard our prayers for freedom.
Giving the Gift of Liberation from Bonded Labor
In our work, we encounter many young women like Salmoni, who are facing the worst of the hardships that bonded laborers are subjected to. Many of them are under threat of being trafficked, sold for organ harvesting, being beaten, and being starved. The physical and emotional toll is overwhelming. This is why we have launched Anna’s House, a safe home of restoration for these women and their families.
Anna’s House Provides Relief from Bonded Labor
Our first home is called "Anna's House." Anna means “Grace” - empowerment to change; to move forward. Our goal is to help women at risk find grace and empowerment through emotional and physical support, as well as trade skill training to help them move into the future with everything they need to thrive.
The goal of Anna's House is restoration for the whole family unit. During their stay at Anna’s House, we provide families with shelter, food, clothing, and training so they can become self-supporting. After their stay with us, we help relocate them to their own homes and establish them in a job. We continue to support these families with regular check-ins from our staff after they leave Anna’s House.
How to Give the Gift of Liberation:
Over 80% of children working in the brickyards are uneducated and illiterate, ensuring that they never move beyond slavery in the system of bonded labor we are working to abolish. Without an education, their options for a sustainable life outside of the brickyards are limited. For kids growing up in the brickyards, education is their biggest hope, opening up a world of opportunities they would not otherwise realize.
Primary Schools Create Opportunities to End Modern Day Slavery
We are actively opening new schools as frequently as possible within the brickyards to provide access to education for as many children as possible. Our schools offer a K-5th grade public school education that focuses on reading and writing. With each school open we have new opportunities to reach more families, educate more kids, and employ new teachers. These are significant strides towards ending modern day slavery.
Trade Schools for Girls
Young women in the brickyards are particularly vulnerable to abuse, violence, persecution, and trafficking. With that in mind, we have begun opening all-girls trade schools to provide a safe, practical educational opportunity for young women to find a path out of the brickyards.
Your gift of education will actually change lives, ensuring the next generation has the freedom to choose their future.
How to Give the Gift of Education:
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
Christmas is a season that signifies hope. Hope for peace and new life, hope for change and freedom, hope for all people to be noticed, remembered, and acknowledged. Christmas is about hope for people, and that’s exactly what we’re about at All People Free.
Hope is a promise. It’s a promise that there is more to come that we don’t yet see. A promise that there is more to be had, more to be seen, more to be lived. It’s a promise that the story isn’t over. For our friends in the brickyards, we whole-heartedly believe that their story isn’t over. There is hope. There is promise.
We’re going into this holiday season with intentional awareness of the hardships so many have faced. In the brickyards, this year has been especially hard as families have had to struggle to get food, medical care, and have had to close schools. That’s why we’re going into this season a little differently. We’re asking how we can help and how we can use this holiday as not just a gift giving season, but a season of giving hope to those who are struggling the most.
After a year like this one, don’t we all need a little extra dose of hope?
Here at All People Free, we want this holiday to mean more than usual for families in the brickyards. We want to help give the gifts that truly make a difference in their lives. Education, liberation, and innovation are the gifts that matter, the gifts that empower people enslaved in the brick making factories to create a better future for themselves, a free future. This is why we’re doing everything we can this holiday season to give what we can. We would be so honored if you would join us.
Learn more here: give.allpeoplefree.com
Hope is on the horizon!
August 28th, 2020, the 58th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream" speech. Millions across the globe will be marching in hopes that this generation will further realize King’s dream, echoing one of the chants, “I can’t breathe.”
At any given point in history there are certain words & phrases that give a name to the thing we are going through. They give voice to the soul of a community or a nation. The words, “I can’t breathe,” has become one of those statements for many. It is both a cry of mourning and a cry of outrage for those reeling from the racial injustice of black men and women who have been wrongly struck down by corrupt law enforcement in America. Some of those names are Eric Garner, Javier Ambler, Manuel Ellis, Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Jacob Blake.
When these words are spoken you can almost feel the bass notes; it’s as if they are strumming inside. Mostly, people are breathless at the sheer terror of what the words represent: human life being wrongly strangled by corrupt law enforcement officers who have sworn an oath to defend and protect. Of course, as strong as these words are, they don’t resonate the same with everyone. There are many different perspectives: some are racist, some can only see the hijacking of a news cycle by a political agenda of what they refer to as the left, and others are unsure of what to do with it all. Even if you don’t agree with the movement of people who are frustrated with racial inequality, you can’t neglect how important these words have become to many.
Breath is something none of us should take for granted.
The first time I stepped foot in a brick kiln I literally “could not breathe.” It was over 100 degrees outside as we approached a smoke stack positioned in the center of the brick kiln where hundreds of men, women, and children were hand-making bricks in the clay and carrying them to the 900 degree pollution-excreting machine. The wind was blowing. Open coal being burned without filtration had put a black smog in the air so thick it seemed like you could climb on it. It felt like I was sitting in a small room with a diesel engine, its overwhelming presence opposed all that is natural in creation as it sucked the oxygen out of the air. Having traveled the world, nothing I have experienced has come close to this. Yet, for millions of people who call brick kilns their home, they have never been able to truly breathe.
As a result, brick kiln workers don’t stand a chance against lung infections. In March 2020 after speaking to a group of more than 500+ brick kiln workers, my friend (who is medically trained) and I were asked to provide medical attention to more than 20+ infants clearly showing signs of lung infection. We did all we could to help them, but how do you treat lung infections when the air is filled with the black smog of open coal? You can’t. These precious people are forced to work and live in this environment with little hope of change.
We are here to say that there IS hope. All People Free is on a mission to liberate those who are trapped in this system of oppression called bonded labor. Modern day slavery still exists, and it needs to come to an end.
Do all people deserve to breathe fresh air as free people? We think so. Please join us today in helping liberate, educate, and invest in sustainable change for women and children in the brick kilns. Join us in helping restore their hope and their breath.
We are hosting our first annual golf tournament on Thursday, September 24th at 12 pm at the North Bellingham Golf Course. We would love to invite anyone nearby to to join us. You can help by sponsoring the event, donating prizes for the event, and/or participating as a player!
Player: $100 includes tournament entry, 2 drink tickets, and lunch (to register as a player, please fill out the registration form here)
Main sponsorship: Thank you to Caliber Home Loans for being our main sponsor for this event!
Driving Range and Putting Contest sponsor: $500 to set up a booth at the range and run the putting contest. You may provide further promotional material, prizes, activities, or refreshments at your discretion.
Tee box sponsorship: $250 to have a sign with your business name and logo at one tee box. You are welcome to set up a booth at the tee and provide further promotional material, prizes, activities, or refreshments.
General sponsorship: $100 to be a part of the official sponsorship list, which will be advertised and given to all participants during the event. You are welcome to provide further promotional materials at the event.
Prize sponsors: provide an item of a $50 value
All proceeds from the event will be split between the following causes:
All People Free: A portion of the funds will go directly to supporting the education of children, liberation of families, and creating systemic change within the brickyards of Pakistan through all All People Free.
Lydia Place: A portion of the funds will go directly to supporting the work of Lydia Place; providing families with housing and helping families recover from homelessness in Northwest Washington.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you or your business would like to participate in any of the above ways. We look forward to hearing from you!
Due to Covid-19 this will be a social distancing event. Masks are required in the golf shop. Its requested that all players honor the golf course and state guidelines for social distancing. Masks are not required during play. Golf carts will be shared.
In the midst of Covid-19, we have seen some amazing acts of courage and comradery that are giving us hope.
All People Free has made temporary shifts in focus to be able to respond to the immediate needs of the families we normally support through education, skills training, and small business loans. Our team has quickly risen to the occasion, putting every effort into caring for those most vulnerable during this time. Here’s some things we’ve been able to do:
Covid-19 requires the best of us, and I do mean to say us. While many are confined to our homes, there is a deep sense that we are all in this together. Nations are uniting, medical facilities are merging, and competing suppliers are working together to fill the most pressing needs. We are more aware than ever that we are all connected through the pandemic that is facing our world. Together, we will not only come through the challenges that face us, but we will be better because of them!
At All People Free our work is to end slavery for those stuck in the brick kilns. We are clearer on that mission now than ever before. We believe with your help we will see slavery end for millions.
While we continue to support our work in the brickyards, these uncertain times have changed some of the immediate needs we are faced with. The health and safety of our students and families are our first priority. Currently, our schools are on hold to try to slow the spread of covid-19. We are continuing to pay our teachers and partners through this time, and they are doing everything they can to keep themselves and their families safe while also staying connected to the brickyards and families needs.
March 8th is International Women's Day and in Pakistan thousands of women will take to the streets to protest, many of whom have histories of being enslaved in brickyards. Pakistani women are fighting for the right to determine what happens to their bodies. According to Amnesty International (linked below), that includes "sexual and reproductive rights, and freedom from physical abuse, domestic violence and rape, or being subjected to any medical procedure without informed consent."
Women everywhere deserve to be free, and we stand with them as they fight for the freedom they deserve.
Learn more about Pakistan and this year's Women's March (known in Pakistan as "Aurat March") here: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/03/pakistan-amnesty-international-stands-with-aurat-march/
Learn more about International Women's Day here: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
Meet Safia and her sons, Asif and Qasim. Both of Safia’s sons lost their eyesight due to a disease and her late husband, Nazeer Masih, took out a loan to pay for their treatment. He used to work in the brickyards to feed his family and pay back the loan, but when he passed, the burden of supporting their family fell to Safia. Needing a way to pay back their debt and feed her family, she went to work in the brickyard.
Safia, her two sons, and her young daughter now live in the brickyard where they endure the harshness of the weather in a mud house and struggle to escape from the crippling debt that keeps them enslaved. Her daughter was unable to continue her education, and her sons’ blindness prevents them from most jobs.
With their debts recently paid off by generous people in their local community, All People Free is working to raise $1000 to relocate them and set them up with employment that will give them a sustainable income and a hopeful future. If you’d like to help, please click below to donate towards the future of this family.
To learn more about their story, feel free to watch a video that can be found here: https//www.facebook.com/minoritieswatch/videos/609663986434232/