The three powerhouse women behind three of our incredible partners
This International Women’s Day, we want to introduce three women who are leaving their legacy in the most extraordinary ways.
Each has a different story, a different culture and speaks a different language, but they all have a common goal—to empower those living in poverty.
Meet Pik from Thailand:
Pik, LIFT international's lawyer.
Pik is our partner LIFT International’s lawyer. LIFT International works to strengthen justice systems, support human trafficking survivors and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.
Pik started working for our partner in 2014, and since then, she has been instrumental in working with public prosecutors to put traffickers and exploiters in jail. She has also been a strong advocate for protecting and compensating victims of trafficking.
She has worked on cases that resulted in:
- 93 convictions of traffickers and exploiters.
- Offenders receiving 1000 years of jail time for their crimes.
- $270,000 NZ in fines to the court from offenders.
- $600,000 NZ in compensation was ordered by the court on behalf of their victims.
*Khouch, human trafficking survivor.
Pik’s role is to advocate for victims in court and help advise judges and other attorneys on matters of international law about human trafficking. She hopes she can use her experience and knowledge of survivors' lives to "change their judicial perspective on victims”.
“I let other attorneys know the extent of the trauma survivors have experienced." Pik approaches each case with the idea that she has to learn as much as possible to make the cases watertight. She visits the crime scenes, checks in with survivors at home or in shelters, and coordinates with other LIFT teams to ensure her clients have access to the best services available.
Pik always pushes for sentences that match the seriousness of their crimes. She also advocates for victim compensation that reflects the extent of trauma experienced by those who have been trafficked and exploited. During a recent case involving several children who were trafficked, Pik told the parents, "I will do my best to help your son." In the best possible way, she takes on each case as a personal commitment to serve each individual and LIFT's greater mission of freedom through justice.
You can help Pik and our other Modern Slavery partners fight human trafficking by clicking here.
Meet Selina from Sri Lanka:
Selina, CEO of our partner Yugashakthi.
Selina Prem Kumar looked into the face of death not once but five times. This was her life and that of many during the 26-year civil war, which began in 1983.
Selina’s near-death experiences gave her the courage to stand up and be a voice for her people. She created something sustainable that would help her community.
She is now the CEO and driving force behind Yugashakthi, Tearfund’s partner in Sri Lanka. Yugashakthi is a social enterprise working to open sustainable markets to famers and deliver profits back to them. Yugashakthi was established from Tearfund’s post-war dairy expansion programme.
Selina wanted to do something for smallholder dairy farmers.
Small-holder dairy farmers part of the programme.
“They are poor, and don’t have sufficient means to educate their children or feed their family three times a day. I wanted to do something for them, so that is who Yugashakthi is working with.”
Traditionally, Sri Lankan farmers have three main ways of creating an income—growing rice, fishing and dairy. Dairy farming had never been their main income.
Selina saw dairying as successful because it can help spread incomes throughout the year. It is also a good means of living for women who lost fathers or husbands in the war, as milking is traditionally done by the women. Lastly, a lot of children in Sri Lanka suffer from malnourishment as a result of a lack of protein in their diet, and milk is a good easy source of protein and a traditional part of every family’s daily food.
This project started with just 15 farmers making an average of $10 per month. Now there are over 4,500 farmers in the programme making an average of $150 per month. Their income grew almost fifteen-fold!
In October 2019, the model transitioned from a not-for-profit charity model to a business model. The Yugashakthi enterprise is now adding value to milk by producing cheese, curd, yoghurt and ice cream.
“Yugashakthi stood up for the rights and protection of smallholder dairy farmers, women and children. Out of nothing, God created something huge. A dream can take you to a wonderful place,” Selina says.
If you’d like to support Selina’s project and our other Farming and Enterprise work, click here.
Meet Erni from Indonesia:
Erni with mum Yuli and baby Patricia.
Erni is an infant survival specialist for our partner Compassion's Mums and Bubs programme.
Indonesia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Southeast Asia, and Erni is working with Tearfund to help change that.
Pregnant mums in extreme poverty frequently lack prenatal care, a nurturing home environment and access to the necessary medical and social services. Because of this, many mums in the world’s poorest countries watch helplessly as their babies die in their arms simply because they do not have access to the care they need.
Erni is helping to reduce the infant mortality rate by educating women on the best ways to care for their newborns.
Erni teaching a mum how to breastfeed.
“The most important thing the women in the project learn is how to safely care for their babies.” When mums join the project, Erni shares the skills, practices and tools they need to ensure their babies thrive, and teaches mums the importance of eating nutritious food while breastfeeding.
“I teach them to eat things like rice, fruit, vegetables, meat and nuts. It’s important for mums to eat protein every day to provide good nutrition through their milk.”
She also teaches mums good hygiene, like how to prepare good food, wash their hands before feeding their babies and how to keep them healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.
Being part of Tearfund’s Mums and Bubs project is the biggest blessing from God, she says. “I have learnt many things I can share with the mums at the project.”
If you’d like to support Erni and our Mums and Bubs project, click here.
These are just a few of the amazing women making a difference every day. Would you consider honouring them on International Women's Day by supporting them and their work through Tearfund?
Farming and Enterprise
Mums and Bubs
Disclaimer: *real name not used to protect identity.