Have a Heart by Supporting TO THE MARKET

(3BL Media and Just Means)--The national day of love, Valentine’s Day, is next Saturday. Cheap chocolate, tacky decorations and roses define this American holiday. But it can be so much more. If you’re not into predetermined celebrations of love, I’ve got another way to create some Valentine’s Day meaning for you: A Heart for Survivors. It’s a campaign of social enterprise: TO THE MARKET. They partner with the millions of people who have overcome exploitation, human trafficking, and domestic abuse. By selling their beautiful jewelry, clothing and other artisan products, they create access to the Western market and employment for the survivors.

TO THE MARKET was founded by Jane Mosbacher Morris. Their mission, according to their Web site, is “by assisting local partners around the world in bringing goods ‘to the market’ to take an active role in equipping the survivors they employ with economic independence while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.” And, this Valentine’s Day, during the season of love, TO THE MARKET is encouraging us to use the power of our dollars to have “A Heart for Survivors.”  

TO THE MARKET partners with businesses around the world: Sari Bari, Punjammies, Across Africa, Vilassi, to name a few. From beautiful cashmere scarves to custom hand bags, TO THE MARKET’s goal is to be a one-stop shop for Survivor-Made-Goods. And, they’ve been successful at doing so. In less than a year, they’ve created a partnership with UN Women and other prominent NGOs like the International Justice Mission.  

A lot of the organization’s exposure and success is due to the fact that Mosbacher Morris gave up a life in politics to launch TO THE MARKET. She was the Director of Humanitarian Action for the McCain Institute for International Leadership and a former employee at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism. Mosbacher Morris pursued social business as a way to empower people, rather than create dependency or further vulnerability.

“I long admired companies like Goodwill, and I’ve been a fan of the social enterprise model because I knew it was a more sustainable approach. Survivors want to have opportunities. They want to have work,” says Mosbacher Morris.

She believes that the bottom line in business creates an urgency that’s hard to find within governmental bureaucracy, which she says, is arguably the largest, economic opportunity.

“I know I could make more of an impact through job creation and job support. Government still has a role to play. They should be at the table, but they aren’t the major player any more. I knew I could be more impactful on the outside,” explains Mosbacher Morris.

And Mosbacher Morris jumped in to social enterprise, all the way. She started by visiting partner organizations in Nepal and India. She spent a lot of time listening and observing. What she heard consistently from the people she met was the joy and hope as they moved on from their past and started new lives.  

“They feel like they have a new chance at life. They have opportunities that they probably could not have imagined previously. And, many of the [partner] organizations, just by the fact that have set themselves up as cooperatives, still offer a degree of social services like therapy, medical supplies, services that our luxuries in many places of the world,” says Mosbacher Morris.

TO THE MARKET does an incredible job of telling the stories of the people behind their products. We can bring deeper meaning to Valentine’s Day by sharing the stories of people who feel "unloved" during the "season of love.”

“We are encouraging people to think about those who haven’t been shown love in their lives. The idea is to keep the survivors in your thoughts and prayers,” says Mosbacher Morris.

I encourage you to say a prayer and then put your prayers to action by making a purchase. You can check out TO THE MARKET’s beautiful goods. Read stories of empowerment. And learn what it means to Have a Heart.  Share it all via #AHeartforSurvivors