WESTLAB HERO: TRIBE FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Established in March 2017, TRIBE Freedom Foundation is on a mission to fight modern slavery and end human trafficking. The charity was inspired by an epic 1,000-mile journey to set up the first UK home for trafficked children. This was Run for Love. Since the first Run for Love and the inception of TRIBE Freedom Foundation, we have engaged thousands of everyday athletes and adventurers in our work to increase awareness of modern slavery and support the survivors. Run for Love II took place in 2017, a brutal 2,000 km duathlon, from Sarajevo to London, in just 14 days and in 2019, 250 runners joined us for Run for Love 3, a six-day ultra-marathon, circumnavigating the Azores and climbing 1.5x the height of Everest!
Together, we work across communities and deliver frontline projects, to increase public awareness of slavery, to enable long term support for survivors of slavery and, in partnership with industry leaders, to prevent modern slavery.
Why is the work of the Foundation so important?
Slavery is the commodification of people for the purpose of exploitation and financial gain. It is not a historic issue. In fact, there are currently more victims than ever before, both in the UK and globally. The Global Slavery Index estimates that there are at least 136,000 people living in slavery in the UK and over 40 million people enslaved worldwide.
Changes to any individual’s circumstances can increase their vulnerability to exploitation. As a result, there is no typical victim of slavery – victims are of all genders and all ages, ethnicities and nationalities.
In order to address the issue of modern slavery, it is vitally important that we draw attention to the issue which is often overlooked and that we explore long term solutions to address the risks of modern slavery across the UK and the world.
What inspires you?
The power of community is totally awesome and incredible! Throughout our community and our events, we see runners and adventurers from across the world, pushing the limits of human endurance to support our work and help fight modern slavery. More than 82% of our income comes from community fundraising and they are our biggest opportunity to amplify awareness. When you see the incredible impact we can create as a community it is incredibly inspiring. Together, we really go further and faster to end modern slavery.
What are you most proud of?
Over the last 12 months, the TRIBE Freedom Foundation has been developing the TRIBE Hike for Freedom: Fitness and Wellness programme, a six-month schedule of outdoors fitness and wellness activities for female survivors of modern slavery. The pilot project enabled 15 women to take part in monthly training walks and outdoors workshops, culminating in the Hike For Freedom: Three Peaks Challenge. The project gave them the opportunity to rediscover their inner strength and recognise their capabilities.
“People have told me ‘you can’t do this’, ‘you can’t achieve this’, ‘you’re not this’, ‘you’re not
that’, but after today, nobody will tell me ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you can’t achieve this’. This has topped it all for me.” Hike for Freedom Participant, one of 15 inspirational female survivors who took part in the 2019 TRIBE Hike for Freedom: Three Peaks Challenge.
We are planning for the TRIBE Hike for Freedom: Fitness and Wellness Programme to recommence by September, with small groups working towards a new team challenge in Spring 2021. We’re immensely proud of the project which totally encompasses everything that we’re about. Empowering individuals to reach their full potential and increasing awareness of modern slavery across communities, so that they can also take action.
If you could share one piece of advice what would it be?
Together, as a community and in partnership we can all achieve more. It’s amazing to see how the ripples which started with three runners, on a journey to run 1,000 miles can build to create waves, increasing awareness amongst thousands of people, raising more than £500,000 to fight slavery and enabling our frontline project partners to support more survivors across the UK.
“Support from the TRIBE community is just amazing. It’s not just funding, it feels like an incredible group of people rallying for us and supporting us and that’s been so valuable” Minke Van Til, Ella’s Home
In 2019, with funding from TRIBE Freedom Foundation, Ella’s Home were able to employ a full-time Operations Manager to oversee development of the project and ensure sustainable growth. With support from the new Operations Manager in place and additional funding committed by the Foundation, Ella’s second London safe house opened in October 2019, increasing their accommodation capacity by 75%. Across all of our frontline project partners, 174 survivors were supported in 2019.
To learn more about our project partners, the TRIBE Hike for Freedom programme and our impact, check out the latest Foundation Impact report here: http://tribefreedomfoundation.com/our-impact/ and follow us on Instagram @tribefreedomfoundation
To join the TRIBE team and take part in Run for Love 4 in 2021, LAUNCHING SOON (!), register here for further details: http://triberunforlove.com