The Sweet Christian Bride

Featured Vendor: Jewels for Freedom

SCB:  What sparked your vision for Jewels for Freedom?

Carol Shipley:  As a stay at home Christian Mum of two, I was asking God how He wanted me to serve Him – what I could do while at home with the kids. My husband and I have always felt very disturbed about the reality of child trafficking across the world and felt that this was something we’d really like to make a difference with. We found that the charity Children on the Edge is doing life-changing work in Thailand to protect vulnerable Burmese children from trafficking.

Sadly, there are many unaccompanied children from Burma in Thailand who, without parental care or protection, are at risk of falling prey to sex trafficking, and the drug trade. Each year thousands of young girls are recruited to work in the sex industry in Thailand.  It is estimated that a large proportion of sex workers in Thailand’s brothels are from Burma and that 60% are under 18 years of age.  Held for years in debt bondage in illegal Thai brothels, they suffer extreme abuse by pimps, clients, and the police.

So we decided to open Jewels for Freedom – selling beautiful jewelry as a way of raising money for the great work Children on the Edge is doing. Our purpose is to raise money to give children who are vulnerable to trafficking a safe and free life. Jewels for Freedom receives no money from sales as 100% of proceeds are donated directly to Children on the Edge through the donation organization Just Giving.

SCB:  Was there any particular Scripture passage that God used to direct your endeavors for Jewels for Freedom?

CS:  Isaiah 61:8: “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.”

SCB: What are the necessary components for making Jewels for Freedom run on a daily basis?  How does your faith in Christ play into this?

CS:  Running Jewels for Freedom as an online shop is very flexible with time, and I use a web site builder which is free of charge and very easy to use which saves me a lot of time. My husband and I fund the project which at present has worked well; however, we will eventually look for sponsors to help fund the project. We trust that God will provide the sponsors we will need at the right time to support Jewels for Freedom.

SCB:  You run Jewels for Freedom together with your husband.  What is it like to run a non-profit with your spouse?  Can you offer any marriage advice for brides?

CS:  It has been great to work on Jewels for Freedom together – we are both so determined to help with the issue of trafficking so we are very united in this. As I run the website, mostly I just need to remind myself that I mustn’t work at times when I should be spending quality time with him – so my advice would be to try to structure your time and devote good amounts of time to spending with your husband without any distractions.

SCB:  What kinds of products do you offer that brides would love and benefit from?

CS:  Jewels for Freedom has a large bridal collection which includes necklace and earring sets and individual pieces all in 18K white gold plate. Many pieces use beautiful fresh water pearls and sparkly topaz.

SCB:  What will a purchase from Jewels for Freedom do?

CS:  Money raised from Jewels for Freedom sales help the Children on the Edge project in Thailand provide safe places for children where they can receive an education, nutritional support and partake in recreational activities. Providing a safe place for children to go takes the children off the streets where they are most vulnerable to prowling traffickers.

Money raised also helps support six boarding houses for children who have no parental care. These safe houses provide shelter, food, trauma counseling and healthcare. They further protect the children from sweat-shop employment, sex trafficking, and the drug trade. From these safe bases 285 children can attend migrant schools and receive the care and support they need.

In addition there is also a Children’s Crisis Centre where children without parental care can have access to food, shelter, education, health care, trauma counseling and recreational activities.

£3.50 will pay for the care of a child in the Children’s Crisis Centre for one day

£10 will feed a class of children for a day

£24.30 will pay for the care of a child in the Children’s Crisis Centre for one week

£25 will pay a teacher for a week

£89 will pay for teaching for one child in the school for migrant children, without counseling but with a good education and start in life for a year

£107 will pay for the care of a child in the Children’s Crisis Centre for one month

£1,266 will pay for the care of a child in the Children’s Crisis Centre for one year

£30,000 will pay for the running of the 7 schools for migrant children for 6 months

Whether you raise money to keep a girl in the centre for one day to a year, or you fund a girls’ place in the school for a term or a decade, each and every Jewels for Freedom purchase can make a difference that will protect a child and change a life!

SCB:  Does Children on the Edge allow you to follow up with where the Jewels for Freedom donations are being put to use?

CS:  I have arranged with Children on the Edge that all donations made from Jewels for Freedom go specifically to their Thailand projects. We are hoping to visit these projects at some point to see the work first hand.

SCB:  What would you say to a bride who is moved by the tragedy of modern-day slavery but who doesn’t know what to do about it?

CS:  There are so many wonderful organizations and charities that are doing great work to help with this issue. As money is always needed for this work I would recommend making your wedding gift request to be for your guests to donate to a charity of your choice. The donation organization Just Giving  has many charities through which guests can donate to easily.

 Check out Jewels for Freedom’s SCB vendor page.