2020 video update
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
This is Salmoni
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 for the Holidays
“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!