The Elsa, Sifirash & Friends Soap Cooperative is a small scale vocational training program started by National Geographic/VII photographer Stephanie Sinclair, along with friend Susanne Kreig.
This cooperative empowers 20 young trafficked women to make a better, more safe and stable living for themselves and their children. As it progresses, this project will be expanded and offered to other young Ethiopian women in similar situations. Your donations will help Elsa, Sifirash & Friends buy supplies to make, package and distribute their soaps.
We accept donations through Amazon Payments and Paypal.
Stephanie met the project’s name sake, Elsa, while working on the issue of child marriage. Elsa is a former child bride who ran away on her wedding day, was trafficked and forced into sex work. She is now rebuilding her life with the help of this soap making pilot program implemented by Timret Le Hiwot, a nonprofit organization that strives to eradicate HIV and AIDS in Ethiopia by working with some of the country's most vulnerable citizens, commercial sex workers.
Since the pilot program began in late 2010, Elsa has received training in cooperative management, learned how to form and legally register her soap making cooperative and open a bank account. They are now making their first batches of soap. We hope to soon have their hand made soaps available for purchase.
Learn more about their implementing partner Timret Le Hiwot.
The VII Association supports projects that create a dialogue about environmental, social, health and human rights issues that are of urgent concern in our time with an ambition to effect change and seek solutions. We will focus particularly on issues that are given little attention elsewhere. While we expect most of projects to be media related we will support projects that are related to the stories we cover whether they are media based or not by providing non-profit and fiscal sponsorship for fundraising.
Media based projects will be displayed through the production of books, exhibitions and video which will broadcast published or installed in locations and media outlets where we can find an influential audience however large or small.
The VII Association was established by VII Photo Agency created in 2001 by seven of the world’s leading photojournalists. Recognized in American Photo’s “100 Most Important People in Photography,” the agency has earned a reputation as one of the most dynamic and innovative organizations in the world of photojournalism with a growing number of awards for photography, film, and multimedia. Both VII Photo Association and VII Photo continue to build effective partnerships with the world's leading NGO’s (Non Governmental Organizations).
What drives the photographers of VII Photo Agency and what unites them is a sense that, in the act of communication, the seeds of hope and resolution inform even the darkest records of inhumanity; reparation is always possible; despair is never absolute.