Boundless 2015 helps ‘Others’ to help others
The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary international congress, Boundless–The Whole World Redeeming, is set to be a life-changing experience for those attending next year’s event and participating online, but it is already helping transform lives through its partnership with Others in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Others–Trade for Hope by The Salvation Army is a social enterprise that aims to use commercial trading activities to create employment opportunities for producers recruited through Salvation Army development projects, community work or corps. The International Congress office based at International Headquarters in London is currently one of Others’ biggest customers. Others will be supplying lanyards and bags for fully registered delegates who have a ticket for all five days of the congress.
The Congress office contacted Others early in the planning process. The result has been a partnership beneficial to both sides. For the producers who sell their products through Others, the Congress order translates into months’ worth of work and the pride that comes with having their products showcased at an international event of such historical significance. For the Congress office, the order means they are assured of receiving high-quality, customized products that will help take the Congress logo and the Salvation Army shield onto the streets of London and beyond. The partnership with Others embodies the goal of being “One Army,” showing how a need in one part of the Army world can be met by a program in another.
“Others isn’t primarily about products, costs and colors. It’s about people, people and people,” said Jan Aasmann Størksen, general manager of Others Global. Production of the Boundless delegate bags provides seven months’ work for producers linked with The Salvation Army’s Counseling and Development Center in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. The center works with commercial sex workers, victims of human trafficking and other vulnerable women in the Old Dhaka neighborhood. For many of the women, working with and making products for Others is a crucial step to reintegration into society.
Production of the Boundless lanyards secures two months’ income for approximately 50 producers in production groups in Lahore. Producers come from various vulnerable backgrounds and are graduates from The Salvation Army’s Sustainable Livelihood Development Program. The lanyard order gives them an opportunity to implement the skills they have gained and earn extra income for their families.
In both areas, the Boundless order is a great contribution toward the goals of Others: supporting hope, dignity and independence for producers who might otherwise struggle to get a job or to make ends meet.
Opportunities to support
The idea of using the Army’s purchasing power to create employment can be traced back to Salvation Army Founder, William Booth. With the global presence of today’s Salvation Army, the opportunities are far greater than they have ever been. Anyone who wants to discuss partnership ideas should look for the Others stand at the Congress next summer. They can also get in touch with Others Global through the website tradeforhope.com, which contains more information.
Next July, knowing that a story of hope lies behind every product, Congress delegates can wear their lanyards and carry their bags with a little bit of extra pride. Others products will also be available for sale at the Congress, so the message for delegates is simple: leave a bit of extra space in your suitcase!
Feature by Bo Christoffer Brekke with Kelly Zvobgo