For the past number of years, Interactive Minds has made a commitment to support those less fortunate than ourselves.  We want to do our bit to contribute to those who need it and to make that intention a driving force of our company. In 2017 we selected Free To Shine as the organisation to support and are delivering on our commitment to provide 1% of seminar ticket sales revenue to this cause. If you attended an Interactive Minds seminar in 2017, in any city, you now know that you have been part of this contribution.

Many of you may not have heard about Free To Shine, an independently-funded, Australian-founded non-profit organisation working to prevent sex trafficking in South East Asia. Their work is prevention-focused, protection-oriented, human rights-based and designed to strengthen families and keep children in education.

Having met the CEO of Free To Shine, Nicky Mih, Interactive Minds CEO Louisa Dahl was moved to assist the organisation in sharing our core pillars of ‘learn, connect, inspire’ with others. Free To Shine is a meaningful example of sharing these values with others who do not naturally have the opportunities we do.

How Free To Shine Saves Girls

Free To Shine identifies girls at high risk of being targeted by traffickers – maybe they’ve never been to school, are overworked, living with family violence, or facing a forced marriage. These girls can be as young as 9 when they are forced to leave their families and live a life that most of us would have trouble imagining.

Through their research, Free To Shine have identified that by keeping girls in schools, it drastically reduces the likelihood of trafficking. Therefore a large focus of their activity is to provide girls with a school uniform and a bike, fill a bag with books and pens, and visit her regularly to keep her in school and safe. In addition to this, they also teach families how to grow their own food and help them to have shelter over their heads.

The non-profit organisation also faces many challenges. In addition to extreme weather conditions that often make movement in Cambodia difficult, Free To Shine recently found a bomb in their driveway and has since signed up for Mine Risk Education Class with local authorities to further protect their team and clients.

To date, Free To Shine’s 16 staff members in Cambodia have helped 732 girls enrol in school through 49 village partnerships. They’ve aided in building 16 new houses, supplying 563 water filters, and circulating over 5000 library books preserving local Khmer culture. They’ve also planted countless vegetable gardens, provided mosquito nets, organised small food festivals and facilitated additional skills classes.

Our Involvement

We are proud to be in partnership with Free To Shine, supporting them in their goal to reach 500,000 girls around the world at risk of sex trafficking. Their vision (and ours) is that these girls will become empowered female leaders shaping their communities and countries.

How You Can Help Further

If like us you are moved to help Free To Shine in helping these young girls, Free To Shine has a variety of activities you can support, from new library books at AUD$8, equipping a girl with leadership skills for AUD$30, to securing a village for AUD$8,480. If you are interested in learning more, their 2017 annual report is here.