Kristin Brings H.O.P.E. to Calgary and Beyond

Posted on July 20, 2012, by Lizzie Presser, Half the Sky Movement

A lawyer, a teacher, an engineer and a banker all walk into a room. Why? Half the Sky.  

After Kristin first read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, she assigned it to her closest friends as mandatory reading. A month later, she held a meeting at her home in Calgary, Alberta and the group Hope and Opportunity for People Everywhere (H.O.P.E.) was born. Now, Kristin and 13 of her friends hold a silent auction for a different issue from Half the Sky each year. They donate the funds raised to one organization doing good work on the given issue in a specific community.

“Our graphic designer makes our tickets, one person is good at organizing, another has great contacts – it’s a diverse group so it works really well,” said Kristin, 29 years old, of H.O.P.E.’s annual silent auction event. H.O.P.E. raised $13,000 for a schoolhouse in Kenya their first year and $23,000 for women in Somalia last year.

 


Seven H.O.P.E. members prepare to host their Night of Hope silent auction event.  

H.O.P.E. is focusing its current campaign on human trafficking. Partnering with Free The Children, Kristin’s group is trying to raise more than $20,000 for a group of women in Kamoda, India, who are part of a community prone to selling children into forced labor. “Free The Children told us that families [in Kamoda] are in financial distress…and often sell their youngest children [to traffickers],” Kristin explained. “We wanted to see what we could do to prevent this from happening. That’s why we chose an alternative source of income project.”

The goal is to raise enough money to provide a group of women with livestock and start-up costs for a farm. Free The Children employees will then teach the women how to run the farm, and the women will gradually take ownership. With a stable income, these mothers are far less likely to sell their kids to be trafficked. If all goes well, they may even decide to send their kids to school.  

According to Kristin, part of the reward of founding H.O.P.E. has been the change in her local community. “It gets everyone [in Calgary] sharing information on the event and the cause with friends and family — so we end up discussing these issues a lot more than I expected,” she said. As for her closest friendships, they are changing, too. “Now we all learn about a different region of the world every year and all these different women. And everyone is very passionate about it.”

If you’re interested in donating an item to the H.O.P.E. silent auction, learn more about the event and email hopeandopp@gmail.com. You can follow them on Twitter, too. 

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