The Starfish Project is a socially responsible business providing exploited women in Asia with alternative employment and a chance to heal and grow through counseling, vocational training, language acquisition, family education and grants, and access to health care and housing in their dedicated shelter. As of 2013, the Starfish Project has grown to support 50 women, allowing them to provide for their families through meaningful employment creating stunning pieces of jewelry.
Starfish has expanded it’s business model and holistic care program, expanding into poorer locations to reach more women by opening two more branches of the Project. The Starfish Project now operates and offers care and employment to exploited women in three different cities in Asia, committed to restoring hope for them and serving as a beacon of hope with the change they represent. As a survivor of domestic and sexual abuse, Heather faces her demons every day in her work, and by doing so she is working towards healing herself as she and the Starfish Project bring positive change to the lives of the women they touch.
I am proud of her for that. So very proud.
I'm also proud to announce I am now an online Advocate of Hope for The Starfish Project, which simply means if you use my affiliate link to buy their superbly made earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, I receive a commission from the sale. And if you want to be more involved, as I did, you can contact me to join my online team. There are no parties in your living room and pressure to have all of your neighbors throw parties for you to get a bonus gift. Just a few reminders here and there that every purchase from the StarFish Project leads to positive change for the women employed by the company, and my link. That's it. And I like it that way.
I promised Heather I will do what I can to help the StarFish Project through my own readership and with the support of The ChingonaFest Community, and I intend to make good on my word.
Why? I’ll tell you.
I founded #Chingonafest as a means to encourage Latinas to embrace our own voices in the face of a culture which dictates we conform, keep our thoughts to ourselves, and always put the needs of the many before our own. It’s about female empowerment and finding the strength within to stand up for ourselves no matter what. Chingonafest is here because you made it happen, and it will continue to grow because you continue to make it happen. In fact, any profits I make in my role as an Advocate of Hope will be put towards furthering the ChingonaFest mission and growing the community to reach its full potential. Getting the podcast off the ground (again) with the help of a producer who can take what I give them and turn it into a stutter-free show, that's my first goal. Being able to stop asking for favors from talented friends and instead offer them real pay for the hard work they continue to put in on my behalf because they believe in me and my dream,...that's my second.
I think that kind of thing matters.
A Chingona knows that in lifting up women in need of support, regardless of culture, we make ourselves stronger. The hashtag may be culturally specific, but the spirit behind the hashtag is universal. I think that matters, too.
To celebrate my new role, Starfish has generously provided a beautiful necklace and earrings. The Greta Tea Rose pendant and Kendra Tea Rose earrings offered is lovely. You can buy them here and here because VALENTINE'S DAY!, you've got until February 14 to take advantage of the 30 percent off Love sale, so if I were you, I'd take care of a few Christmas gifts while you're at it. (I can't be the only one that does that, right?)
The contest is open to those who are 18 and over. Anyone can enter, but those who share this post on their social media streams get one extra point. You also earn two more if you like the Chingonafest Facebook page and follow Chingonafest and Starfish on twitter. The contest will close at midnight, EST, on Saturday, February 13, which -- of course -- also happens to be the day before Valentine's Day. Enter for yourself, for a friend, or tell your significant other to enter for you because subtle is lame and boring. I'll announce the winner in my next Tortilla Press newsletter, so be sure to sign up!
Remember, no pressure. No stress. And I couldn't possibly care less about the state of your living room. All I am hoping for is the chance to connect with you. For the sake of a starfish.
As Latinas we must work against the tide to force positive change for ourselves, as well as for our daughters. As women, the mission is the same. The only difference is the size of the playing field.