What is Tote Project all about?
We started The Tote Project because we believe there is hope for the millions of victims of modern day slavery around the world, and we want to do our part to eradicate human trafficking. We sell fair trade, 100% organic products that are made by women who have made the brave choice to journey out of the sex trade and into freedom. 20% of our profits are donated to Two Wings to help local trafficking survivors pursue their dreams.
Whereabouts are you based and who are you working with?
Michelle is based in Los Angeles and Fay near Ashville, North Carolina…we are bi-coastal!
Our products are made by Freeset in Kolkata, India. Along with providing jobs for the women they rescue, Freeset offers literacy classes and physical, emotional and psychological support for their workers. The women that sew our bags even receive insurance and pension plans, which is very rare to find in international manufacturing
What are you most proud of?
Last year we organized an art therapy session at The Dream Center in Los Angeles. We met with the human trafficking survivors there and asked them to draw their artistic representation of hope inside of a flower petal design. Afterwards we combined all their petals to make a print and provided The Dream Center with totes to use for fundraising. The art therapy session itself was so inspiring because we got to meet face to face with the women we are supporting, and see that it is possible to regain joy after living through something as traumatizing as slavery. That memory drives us to continue working hard to make a difference and gives meaning to what we do.
How can people find out more and get involved?
Follow our journey:
To get more involved educate yourself about the impact you have as a consumer. Start with watching The True Cost documentary (it’s on Netflix!). Additionally, learn the signs of modern day slavery and save the hotline number (1-888-373-7888) in your phone – doing so could save a life! We provide a card with this information inside each bag we sell, and the information is available on our website.
What makes you hopeful?
Community gives us hope. All the amazing likeminded people we’ve met on our journey who care more about people than profits inspire us. We can only end slavery together, everyone has to do their part, and we continue to hold on to hope that it’s possible.
Thank you Michelle and Fay, Co-Founders of The Tote Project for answering our questions and letting us share your inspiring work
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