These women are made for more!
Refuge for Women was opened in 2009 after Founder and President Ked Frank spent time with Refuge for Men and learned there was no place for women in dangerous situations to go for safety. Today, Refuge for Women operates emergency housing, long-term housing, and transitional living to heal women from addiction and trauma, teach healthy and faith-based coping skills, and set them up for success outside these living quarters.
While women are in the care of Refuge for Women, they take classes on various topics, from meal planning to resume building to budgeting. Most of the residents have never worked traditional jobs and lack these skills. The lack of these essential life skills creates challenges for employment opportunities for many of the residents.
Survivor Made was started in 2020 to provide an opportunity for women to gain working skills and, for some, act as a bridge to allow women to pursue the career of their dreams. While in the long-term program, residents work for Survivor Made one day per week. Ashley Bernard, Survivor Made manager, said, “Working for Survivor Made motivates our residents. It’s a day they all look forward to because the work they are doing boosts their confidence.” Ashley continues, “Working for Survivor Made helps us to retain residents and pushes them to graduate from the Refuge for Women long-term program because they have employment and are receiving income they wouldn’t otherwise receive.”
Just like any start-up, Survivor Made is facing challenges. “We are learning quality control and inventory management, but the beautiful aspect of our business is watching the lightbulb go off for many women, who for the first time in many cases realize they are worth more.” National Executive Assistant Nancy Francis says.
When discussing the challenges of running a business, Ashley said it best, “It would be easy to get bogged down with running a successful business, but we keep the women at the forefront of our mind. They are our why, and keeping a safe and positive work environment for them is vital.”
Human and Sex Trafficking is a relevant topic for most in today’s world. However, very few understand that these problems are happening close to our homes. It’s people in our local grocery store or people taking the trash out in “normal” neighborhoods. The trafficked victims are often sold by people they know and love. Survivor Made provides an escape for these women but also opens a platform to tell the story of how they are changing lives.
Survivor Made is excited about continued success in the future and is currently in the refining stage of operating a start-up, as they look to continue to build other meaningful partnerships. “We are grateful for partners like Kentucky Soaps & Such because they love our high-quality products and support and believe in our mission,” Ashley says.
Nancy said, “Here at Survivor Made we often say we believe in women and know they are made for more. More than just barely making it, more than not worthy, more than just a body with a price tag. These opportunities give them the power and authority to say this stops with me.”
You can find these life-changing candles and leather bags at Kentucky Soaps and Such. With Survivor Made products, every purchase impacts victims’ lives. Learn more about the meaningful work Survivor Made is doing here.