10 Years Later
By Princy Prasad
Being a nonprofit with a social enterprise has had its ups and downs. When Nomi Network first started in 2009, it was with volunteer staff and a dream: a world without slavery where every woman can know her full potential.
10 years later, this is still our vision and we achieve it through our mission: to create economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking by equipping them with leadership, entrepreneurship, and technical skills to become financially independent.
Financial independence is truly the first step to freedom from slavery. It is also an opportunity. For the women in Nomi Network’s programs, an opportunity is the difference between forcing their children to work, selling themselves and a life free of poverty, filled with choices.
Nomi Network partners with local nongovernmental agencies and social enterprises in Cambodia and India to achieve this. Our hope is to see Cambodian fashion and industries elevated to join the global marketplace so that the impoverished communities are no longer in poverty and a target for traffickers. In India, we start from the ground level, teaching basic life and technical skills, so that participants can get their first job or start a business. Both programs create ethically-made, sustainable products that are sold online, in select boutiques, and in partnership with large retailers trying to better their supply chains. In this important work, we get to partner with amazing brands like Sanaya Set so that human trafficking isn’t a just “trending cause”, but a problem we are working together to solve.
As we work to eradicate modern-day slavery in our lifetime, we follow the lead of the courageous women we’ve met and worked with. Women like Aimeli, Anjali, Soni, and Renu… and the other 9,000 women and girls we have supported across a decade.
Aimeli, who could not speak fluent Hindi and was afraid of people, tearfully thanked her peers and trainers as she graduated Nomi Network’s 2-year program. Anjali, who traveled over 68 miles to our offices and never missed a day of training. Her resilience and example encouraged other women in her community to join the program. Soni, whose parents saw her birth as a burden, graduated from our beautician program and is saving money to open her own shop.
Then there’s Renu, one of the first twenty women we taught when we started our India training program in 2012. Not a single smile to share nor hope for the future then, Renu is now a Master Trainer for Nomi Network as she showed astounding leadership skills and trains new classes of women herself. She is earning more than enough to support her family and plans to buy land to build a new future for the generations after her. That is the ripple effect one woman has in this world!
There are countless stories that we do not yet know. Listening to her mother speak confidently in public, a daughter’s perception of her own capabilities shifts. Watching a neighbor rise early to attend a class, a day laborer sees another path for her future. Impressed by a friend’s plans to open a business, a young girl thinks about her own dreams. These women have the potential to change their lives, impact their communities, and transform the world. They just need our support.
We know that one day, human trafficking will be abolished. On that day, communities will know the uncontainable worth of women, thanks to Aimeli, Anjali, Soni, Renu, and every other woman who was given an opportunity and claimed it.
This is transformative, intergenerational change… and we’ve only just begun.
- Princy Prasad, Sales Manager, Nomi Network