måndag 21 december 2015

Christmas Donations

The Gift of Giving - Merry Christmas 

On the 21st of December I headed out to the girls in the shelter, to deliver christmas donations that I was able to buy thanks to many caring people back home and here in Bangalore. We did it last year, and thankfully we could do it again this year. It is truly a gift and blessing to be able to help others in need. Thanks to all donations hair oil, sanitary pads, shampoo, dosa phava and some other pots, inner wear, sweaters and some other clothes, toys, combs, chocolate and biscuits could be delivered. So far, during December, approximately 50 000 INR has been raised.

Funds will also be used for material for vocational training, so that the girls can become self sustainable and live a dignified life. The IT-company Indpro also told us today that they want to commit with monthly support. This we are very grateful for! Unfortunately I had a huge problem with transportation, so I had to rush in and delivered the gifts, otherwise the driver did not want to take me back, and I had a midnight plane to catch. I will see the girls in early January, then we can spend some more time together. I always like to hear how the are, and if they need anything special.

Thank you kindly all of you who donated, the girls in the shelter really care that others care about them! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! Hopefully the new year will bring more happiness to less fortunate people - we can all try and do our best to help along the road!

lördag 19 december 2015

Run & Shop for a Cause

Run for a Cause and Christmas market 

Me & Rakesh
On Sunday the 13th of December I ran my first half Marathon, actually I ran for a cause, for victims of sex trafficking. I was a bit nervous since I've never run this long distance before, but my friend Rakesh was also there. It was really fun to attend and complete the race, and at the same time awareness was raised about the victims of sex trafficking.

Santa hands out gifts
Later, the same afternoon, I made it back to our apartment complex to sit in a stall during our Christmas market in PB. I shared a stall with Danish/ Canadian friends and together we sold "ris à la malta" and Danish cookies. I also brought some of the girls from the shelter to the market so that they could do some income generating activities. So next to our stall three girls from the NGO sat, and they sold handcrafted items. This was not only a form of income generating activities for the girls, but also awareness raising. During this event participant could also donate towards charity. 

Vidyaranya stall
Our stall

onsdag 9 december 2015

Clothes party to benefit victims of sex trafficking

Fashion clothes designer Deepa, with the brand Encrustd, supports victims of sex trafficking in a astonishing way 

Deepa, me and Deepa (from Encrustd)

Me and Daniella
in DnR collection
In "Diamonds and Rust" we all came together. Yesterday, 9th of December, there was a home party in my flat. The very generous and kindhearted business woman Deepa Chikarmane, with the brand Encrustd, displayed and sold clothes from her new collection called Diamond and Rust. Not only did Deepa want to sell her clothes,  and do brand marketing, Deepa's commitments stretches far beyond this. She doesn't only focus on being a successful business woman, she is doing it with a CSR-focus, to benefit victims of sex trafficking. 

To build and sustain brands that people really like, one must focus, not only on today but on tomorrow as well. To short term with long term goals is not easy, however, it is the key deliver sustainable, profitable growth. A growth that is good for all stakeholders, employees, consumers, business partners, as well as our surrounding communities. Deepa knows and understands this. Hence, she decided to support victims in our shelter with some percentage from the sales at the home party. This in turn will help former victims to get training and to become self sustainable. A lot of people bought clothes, they mingled, had some wine and finger food. In total, it was a success! I can not thank you enough Deepa! And thanks all of you who shopped for a good cause!

It takes many years to build a good reputation, but it only takes minutes to ruin it. Encrusted takes CSR to a whole new level, and I hope many will follow in their good steps.  

You can check out and order Deepa's clothes here: http://www.encrustd.com

Christmas party at Taj West End

Christmas party with Swedish Chamber of Commerce - to benefit victims of sex trafficking at Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter

Me and my colleague Raji
On the 5th of December we had the opportunity to fundraise at the beautiful and notorious five star hotel Taj West End, to benefit victims of sex trafficking at the NGO Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter. This opportunity was given to us thanks to Swedish Chamber of Commerce. The party had a Swedish Christmas theme, and was hosted by Johan Andersson (from Centigo), and Kaveri Sinhji (from Bluefoot, which is a top ranked tourist tour agency on TripAdvisor). 

I feel very privileged and blessed that I have had the opportunity to grow up in such a beautiful and great country such as Sweden. Not all has had this blessing. Despite the fact that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the country is facing tremendous problems with trafficking. Many victims that has been kidnapped, drugged, and raped feels that there is no hope, but there is. Thanks to organisations, such as Vidyaranya, victims can get protection and rehabilitation in their so-called Ujjawala shelter. 

As mentioned previously, Ujjawala shelters are part of a national governmental scheme, so most of their funding comes from the government. However, this is not enough. I strongly believe that we all should care, and be active actors in our surrounding communities, rather than just passive actors. If we do not care we only risk increasing injustices, such as when former victims are not getting vocational training, they are not being reintegrated, kids grow up poor and often sick ...  I truly believe that education (vocational training) and reintegration is the key to progression for these girls. 

There for, during my speech, I pledged for both short-term support, as well as long-term support. For example, the NGO has been given a pice of land, but we need funding for a new facility. We need help with vocational training and income generating activities, so that the former victims gets to be self sustainable and reintegrated. We also need help from a health perspective. 

During the dinner we managed to fundraise a total of 25 370 INR. Not bad at all coming from private donations. Thanks all of you who contributed and took the opportunity to be "gifted with the gift of giving". I feel very proud to be part of such a amazing organisation such as Vidyaranya. They have thought me a lot, and together we have achieved a great deal, but more needs to be done. For this, we need your help in the future as well. I hope
many of you will contribute with a Christmas donation so that we can buy the girls the most urgent basic items, such as sweaters, schampoo, amongst other things. Please send me an email should you wish you to contribute (petra-spencer@hotmail.com). 

Linus, Stef, Nisha and Johan 

Thank you kindly SCCI for this opportunity, and thanks to the media for coverage!

torsdag 3 december 2015

Trendy Scent is reaching out

The trendy hair & spa salon SCENT shows support in the fight to combat injustices

Yesterday I had a meeting with the Director of the trendy hair and spa salon SCENT, Mr. Vijay Lobo. As it turned out, Vijay is not only a very successful business owner, he has also been involved in fighting poverty and give help to the needy. He has had a huge commitment towards development issues, and he has worked a lot with orphaned children in the past. Now with his own children growing up, businesses are doing well, he says that he wants to give back to community. Further more, he said that everything is not about money, about gaining yourself all the time. It is such a relief to see when people are showing support. I am sure we can do something great together, to benefit less fortunate girls and women at Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter. 

As many of you already know, Scent has a very trendy and modern salon at Lavelle rd, and is present at some other locations as well. You can check Scent out here: https://www.facebook.com/ScentSalonSpaBangalore

Me and Vijay, at Scent Lavell rd