To celebrate the fact that on my birthday next month I will have been on Earth as long as IKEA has been in the UK, I have decided to invite you to join in the festivities.

I am one of the most privileged people I know of. I am safe, healthy, loved, educated, free. I need nothing. I wake up in the morning looking forward to what is to come. The past 25 years have been great. I love life. Hand in hand with my appreciation for the life I lead and love is an acute and ever-increasing awareness of the plight of those whose lives are what they imagine to be worse than death. Whether due to the plight of slavery or other kinds of injustice, whilst you and I sit in comfort and freedom, others are abused, exploited, deceived, raped, beaten, crushed.

And what is so utterly sad and shameful on our part is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Families can go free. Boys can receive an education. Girls and women who were abused and viewed like products can be given their lives back. Men can rediscover dignity. Lives can be changed forever. Justice can be done.

But it is up to us to make this happen.

In light of all this, I had been shopping around for a cause to ‘donate’ to, and on Friday one of my favourite organisations came up with something perfect.

International Justice Mission, a leading anti-slavery organisation, is aiming to raise financial support to cover 25 rescues before the 25th November. That gives us just under a month. IJM are thorough in their approach; working with local law-enforcement to rescue victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and then commit to providing long-term care for the victims. Read about some of their recent rescue operations here.

Some more information on process of a completed rescue, which costs on average $4,500:

  1. The abuse is discovered through IJM undercover investigations or reported to IJM by government or other local organisation.
  2. IJM teams document evidence.
  3. IJM presents proof to local officials and works with them to plan a rescue operation.
  4. IJM and law enforcement rescue the victims, and gather strong evidence to hold the abusers accountable in court so they can’t harm other people.
  5. IJM social workers help comfort and protect survivors right from the moment of rescue so they can begin their journey of healing—and stay by their side for years.

I’m ‘donating’ my 25th birthday to this aim of 25 rescues by the 25th of November. So if you were planning on giving me a present, please just give to IJM’s initiative instead. If my name is not on your list of ‘to buy for’ this year, perhaps you’d still consider giving to IJM. And as well as wonderful real-life friendships, I enjoy the blogging/Twittersphere community that has played a significant role in social justice initiatives so far: let’s get on board with this one, too.

To donate to these 25 rescues, please click here.

One thought on “25

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