Last week we heard from Stella Sarmias about her experience campaigning against modern slavery and this week we’re hearing from Sean, BA in Social Anthropology (2021). Sean also worked with the Wonder Foundation through their SEE-ME Programme. Read on to hear about their experience..
The Wonder Foundation is a women’s empowerment charity with a special focus on development and education. One of the programmes Wonder is running is SEE-ME which aims to educate and raise awareness about modern slavery among young people, and give them the tools to campaign against it.
Before I got involved with the SEE-ME Programme, I didn’t know much about modern slavery. And while I had a lot of enthusiasm about making a social difference and changing the society we live in, I didn’t know what that looked like in reality.
Getting involved with the SEE-ME Programme has really helped me to learn valuable life skills, like leadership, taking initiative and working well with others to deliver a campaign which is focusing on helping some of the most vulnerable people in society.
During the activities week in September 2019, along with about twenty other young people, I got involved in a whole weeks’ worth of activities which included workshops, talks and group discussions about modern slavery both in the UK and in the international context. Through these events, I learned how to engage with the sensitive topic which affects many people in society: according to UK government statistics, around 13000 people were affected by modern slavery in 2017, with many more cases going unreported.
That’s why I decided to take action. With the help of the Wonder team, including Director of Policy and Campaigns Olivia Darby, I launched my personal campaign: to get councils’ attention and ask them questions about how we can prevent modern slavery in our local areas, and how councils could have safeguarding measures in place to prevent modern slavery in the supply chains of services outsourced to private contractors.
Throughout the next few months, I attended events like the Anti Slavery Day Conference in October 2018 – which helped me to present these campaign ideas and receive feedback on how to improve them.
The highlight was getting to give a speech to Parliament about my work in February 2019. I felt passionate about speaking about what I found out from my campaign. It was an experience I’ll always remember.
Looking back, getting involved with the SEE-ME programme has changed who I am and helped me to grow as a person. It has helped me see the world more positively, where we can make a difference through engagement and participation. It starts with the small things – like having the right conversations, interests and enthusiasm which goes into creating constructive change that benefits everyone.
My campaign is still ongoing. I’m asking everyone to email their local representatives and MPs to ask how modern slavery is dealt with at the local level and how they can do more. To find out more about how to get involved, please visit the Wonder website: https://www.wonderfoundation.org.uk/actnow.
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