by Jim King w/ contributions by Emily Smith
Economic freedom for more than 1,700 women.
Over 9,200 nights of safe housing for women recovering from life on the street.
$1,000,000 in salaries and wages for women survivors.
20 social enterprise partners from 16 countries on 5 continents.
Welcome to Thistle Farms…and Becca Stevens, the newest Champion of ChangeU. (www.ChangeUniversity.org)
Thistle Farms’ mission, according to their website, is to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. They do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners. At Thistle Farms, they believe that in the end, love is the most powerful force for change in the world. (https://thistlefarms.org/pages/our-mission)
Here are a couple of links about Thistle Farms (www.thistlefarms.org):
A Survivor’s Story https://thistlefarms.org/blogs/community-blog/trish-reflects-on-second-chances-and-finally-finding-her-way-home
The Café at Thistle Farms https://thecafeatthistlefarms.org/
More about Becca and Thistle Farms in a moment. Becca has something else going on right now that we want to introduce…
The current Syrian refugee crisis has women and their children trading an unsafe home for unknown waters. With almost nothing but life vests, they arrive in an unfamiliar world in search of a new life.
The magnitude of the situation? Read on…
In September 2017, over 3,000 people arrived on Lesvos island by boat. Most of the people arriving were women and children. Officials say 6,500 people are now stuck on the island; the Hope Refugees organization believes the numbers to be closer to 7,500 people.
The notorious Moria refugee camp – built with capacity for 1,800 people – is now at its breaking point with around 5,500 residents – more than double its capacity. And with this camp at breaking point, many tired and vulnerable refugees are having to live in flimsy festival tents outside the camp.
Comparing the number of arrivals in September 2017 to August 2017, there has been a 264% increase in the first 10 days of September alone! As winter approaches, children will once again be facing the freezing temperatures of Europe in inadequate tents and behind razor wire.
Women refugees have come together with Thistle Farms to start the first social enterprise in Ritsona, Greece. Women are weaving welcome mats that include the fabric from life vests worn by refugees on their journey to Greece. Thistle Farms has partnered with “I AM YOU” (www.iamyou.se) to help these refugee women gain economic freedom.
The Welcome Project (https://thistlefarms.org/pages/the-welcome-project) is committed to helping women find their path forward.
Here are a few links that will give you more information on The Welcome Project.
Another Survivor’s Story http://www.beccastevens.org/blog/lovewelcomes
A Sermon by Becca http://www.beccastevens.org/blog/sacredthread
People Magazine story http://people.com/human-interest/nashville-priest-teaches-syrian-refugees-to-transform-life-vests-welcome-mats/
Now…More About Becca
The following information is taken from Becca’s website (http://www.beccastevens.org/#aboutbecca):
Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home.
Twenty years later, the organization continues to welcome women with free residence that provide housing, medical care, therapy and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.
Becca has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC World News and NPR, was recently named a 2016 CNN Hero and a White House “Champion of Change.” She was featured in the PBS documentary, A Path Appears, named Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America and inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. Stevens attended the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been conferred 2 honorary doctorates.
You can find over 100 articles, videos, pictures and other Becca-related materials at the following link: https://brandfolder.com/beccastevens .
You can find information about Becca’s new book, Love Heals, at the following link: http://www.beccastevens.org/loveheals/ .
WOW…Becca Stevens…what a Champion!
Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University. You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link: http://www.changeuniversity.org/about/ .
Emily Smith is the Public Relations Manager at Thistle Farms. (http://www.thistlefarms.org)