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Choices -- Thought provoking insights from guest poster, Claire McKee, Samford University student about her recent visit to Freeset Headquarters in Kolkata, India.

September 09, 2016

I watched in utter disbelief as a small boy jumped on the bus exclaiming, "Good Morning!" (in English, mind you) and opened up about half a sandwich bag of dry coffee creamer--his breakfast.....

I can choose not to eat dry coffee creamer for breakfast. I choose what college I attend. I choose where I will live at college. I choose what I will study there. I choose whether I will throw on a t-shirt and Chacos or dress up for class. I choose what I eat for lunch. I choose my friends. I choose my boyfriend. I choose if I will grab Starbucks or Juice Bar for a pick-me-up; I choose my job; I choose EVERYTHING. But the snake that is poverty has a funny way of wrapping around and around as it gets worse and worse until it is so restrictive and choking to a person that they can't move. They can't choose anything. They get what poverty allows them to barely grasp and they take it.

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Freeset's Phillipa Rea featured in Huffington Post

July 13, 2016

In 2015, CLF began to explore suitable community projects and, Michelle Pratt (CLF Founder/Director), Nik Webb-Shephard (Child Labor Free CEO) and I were connected with fellow New Zealander, Phillipa Rea of Freeset. Freeset is a social enterprise, based in Kolkata’s Sonagacchi district, which aims to free local women from the sex industry by providing them with the opportunity to learn new skills and earn a decent wage by creating fair trade, organic goods.

The Freeset factory also provides a social network for the women working in the factory and provides health, financial, counseling, housing and education support. The three of us visited Kolkata in March 2016, to conduct a site visit to further scope out potential projects. During this visit, we met with many of the women working in the factory. Hearing the stories of these women, who have left the sex industry to better support their children and families - and also to better care for themselves - you cannot help but feel pain for those who have never had a choice. It is in these moments you know you have to be a part of the change too.

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