Brand Spotlight: Starfish Project

Restoring hope to exploited women, with your help


Have you heard the story of the little boy who went down to the beach, only to discover that it was covered in starfish that had washed up in the tide and become stranded on the beach?

Knowing that the starfish would soon dry up and die in the heat of the sun, he set to work. One by one, he stooped to pick the starfish off the sand and return them to the water.

Before long, an older man came walking along the beach and asked the boy what he was doing.

When he explained, the man looked left and right at the thousands of starfish lining the beach in both directions. “You’ll never be able to help them all. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make a difference.”

Undeterred, the boy continued his work, and with wisdom beyond his years delivered the moral of the story as he carefully placed another starfish in the water:

“It made a difference to that one!”

Starfish Project took its name from this story, as well as its commitment to helping however many people they can.


The Starfish Project Mission

The core mission of Starfish Project is to restore hope to exploited women and girls. Focusing their efforts on communities in Asia, they run Holistic Care Programs that quite literally change people’s lives.

These programs provide shelter, healthcare, counseling, education grants, and vocational training that have helped over 130 women and their children so far break free from exploitation and human trafficking and transition into an independent, free life.

Take Mae Lee, who had a hard start in life. She was born into a family that did not want her around. When she was a teenager, her mother sent her to Greece with a stranger, illegally.

She was trafficked there.

But now, she has been with Starfish Project for three years, working as a photographer and inventory manager. In her time there, she has learned a lot of new skills that will serve her throughout her life, like photography, computers, English, and even Greek. Not to mention the hands-on job experience she has gained in the process.

Talk about restoring hope!

The Method

What makes all of this possible is support from customers who buy the jewelry that these women make, photograph, and sell online. 100% of each purchase is reinvested into the organization’s social mission. It may help to fund things like:

  • Weekly outreach visits to brothels to provide medical support, educational lessons, and build trust.

  • Safe shelters designed for vulnerable women and children that ease their transition to independence.

  • Counseling services that help to address prior pain and make a roadmap toward future success.

  • Vocational training that opens up career opportunities within the organization and far beyond.

  • Health care and health education, including medical insurance and regular checkups.

When you realize that you can help to fund all of this and get a really cute new pair of earrings at the same time, it almost sounds too good to be true! But it’s not. They’re just that awesome.


Maximize Your Impact

If your jewelry box is at full capacity already, there are other ways you can support Starfish Project’s mission and the women that it helps.

For example, there’s the Educate Her project, which lets you donate directly to fund an aspect of the women's’ educations.

You could donate to help Mae Lee get a lens and flash to continue her photography education, or for a computer to help Chenny learn Microsoft software skills. You can even help to pay for Cici’s tuition costs.

There is also a pressing need to expand the Starfish Project branches to incorporate another location where they can house, educate and employ more women. Right now, they are completely at capacity and won’t be able to hire any more women from brothels until the new project is complete.

To help accelerate that process, you can donate directly to fund the new classroom space or the new shelter expansion, or both if you’re feeling particularly generous!

Remember, each time you contribute, you’re helping one more starfish return to the water, safe and free.


Kayla Robbins
DoneGood Contributor

A freelance writer working with bighearted businesses who want to better our world.



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